US20120190386A1 - Wireless location establishing device - Google Patents

Wireless location establishing device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120190386A1
US20120190386A1 US13359394 US201213359394A US2012190386A1 US 20120190386 A1 US20120190386 A1 US 20120190386A1 US 13359394 US13359394 US 13359394 US 201213359394 A US201213359394 A US 201213359394A US 2012190386 A1 US2012190386 A1 US 2012190386A1
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user
tilz
users
profile
information
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Victor Thomas Anderson
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Victor Thomas Anderson
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/02Services making use of location information
    • H04W4/04Services making use of location information using association of physical positions and logical data in a dedicated environment, e.g. buildings or vehicles
    • H04W4/043Services making use of location information using association of physical positions and logical data in a dedicated environment, e.g. buildings or vehicles using ambient awareness, e.g. involving buildings using floor or room numbers
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01CMEASURING DISTANCES, LEVELS OR BEARINGS; SURVEYING; NAVIGATION; GYROSCOPIC INSTRUMENTS; PHOTOGRAMMETRY OR VIDEOGRAMMETRY
    • G01C15/00Surveying instruments or accessories not provided for in groups G01C1/00 - G01C13/00
    • G01C15/02Means for marking measuring points
    • G01C15/04Permanent marks; Boundary markers
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S19/00Satellite radio beacon positioning systems; Determining position, velocity or attitude using signals transmitted by such systems
    • G01S19/01Satellite radio beacon positioning systems transmitting time-stamped messages, e.g. GPS [Global Positioning System], GLONASS [Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System] or GALILEO
    • G01S19/13Receivers
    • G01S19/14Receivers specially adapted for specific applications
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S19/00Satellite radio beacon positioning systems; Determining position, velocity or attitude using signals transmitted by such systems
    • G01S19/01Satellite radio beacon positioning systems transmitting time-stamped messages, e.g. GPS [Global Positioning System], GLONASS [Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System] or GALILEO
    • G01S19/13Receivers
    • G01S19/35Constructional details or hardware or software details of the signal processing chain
    • GPHYSICS
    • G01MEASURING; TESTING
    • G01SRADIO DIRECTION-FINDING; RADIO NAVIGATION; DETERMINING DISTANCE OR VELOCITY BY USE OF RADIO WAVES; LOCATING OR PRESENCE-DETECTING BY USE OF THE REFLECTION OR RERADIATION OF RADIO WAVES; ANALOGOUS ARRANGEMENTS USING OTHER WAVES
    • G01S19/00Satellite radio beacon positioning systems; Determining position, velocity or attitude using signals transmitted by such systems
    • G01S19/38Determining a navigation solution using signals transmitted by a satellite radio beacon positioning system
    • G01S19/39Determining a navigation solution using signals transmitted by a satellite radio beacon positioning system the satellite radio beacon positioning system transmitting time-stamped messages, e.g. GPS [Global Positioning System], GLONASS [Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System] or GALILEO
    • G01S19/42Determining position
    • G01S19/48Determining position by combining or switching between position solutions derived from the satellite radio beacon positioning system and position solutions derived from a further system
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/30Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving profiles
    • H04L67/306User profiles

Abstract

A system, method, service and wireless location-establishing device are disclosed, which locates its position by a plurality of means, including GPS satellite interrogation and triangulation. Alternative methods of location establishment include triangulating location data from nearby location-established objects such as WiFi or cell site towers, as well as from other present Invention location establishing devices (“Survey Eggs”). Once location has been established, the device can transmit and receive a variety of data based upon location, profile, and other factors, facilitating novel interactions and transactions.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application is a Continuation-in-Part of and claims the benefit of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/366,525, filed on Feb. 5, 2009, which claims the benefit of Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/026,262, filed Feb. 5, 2008, Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/037,499, filed Mar. 18, 2008, Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/038,617, filed Mar. 21, 2008, Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/039,839, filed Mar. 27, 2008, Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/040,243, filed Mar. 28, 2008, and Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/042,663, filed Apr. 4, 2008. The foregoing patent applications are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety.
  • FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    The principles of the present invention relate to a location establishing method, location establishing devices, and a location establishing service and system, that has applications for many fields, including property surveys. Additionally, the present invention relates to a method and system of data transmission and reception. The data transmission and reception includes, but is not limited to, such items as information, advertisements, offers, and profiles.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE CONVENTIONAL ART
  • [0003]
    At present, when performing a boundary survey for a particular property, survey instruments are utilized to locate the corners of a property owner's lot. The surveyors often mark these corners by driving wooden stakes in the ground.
  • [0004]
    When the work is done that necessitated the boundary survey, the wooden stakes are (often) removed.
  • [0005]
    Unfortunately for the property owner, if additional work needs to be done, say a few years later, the owner must incur the cost of performing another boundary survey all over again (with potentially varying results).
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0006]
    The present Invention is conceived as a response to the above-described disadvantages of the conventional art. The present Invention relates to wireless, location-establishing devices (hereafter “Survey Eggs”), that are wireless Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) devices that enable surveyors to permanently locate the boundary points of property lines. Survey Eggs address problems such as having a property owner's boundary surveyed over and over, for thousands of dollars each time the owner, say, renovates their property.
  • [0007]
    Accordingly, a cost-efficient method for providing permanent location information is needed.
  • [0008]
    Survey Eggs can be placed in the ground once (FIG. 4), and property owners can have their boundary points located permanently.
  • [0009]
    Once established, Survey Egg boundary points can, for instance, be mashed up with satellite map data allowing property boundary lines to be displayed on services such as online maps, as well as synchronized with official parcel maps (FIG. 4).
  • [0010]
    The principles of the present invention also relate to another embodiment, with a focus on commercial, municipal and government applications for surveys, highways, roads, and paths; in addition to, information communication to police, DMV, car companies, other users, etc. This ruggedized embodiment is referred to as “Gotz Dotz” for convenience. Gotz Dotz can, for example, replace Botts' Dots on highways, and are designed to withstand being run over by vehicles.
  • [0011]
    The principles of the present invention also relate to yet another embodiment, which shall be referred hereafter to as “Survey Nuts” for convenience, which are devices that do not utilize satellite GPS to locate themselves, instead triangulating from three or more of the boundary Survey Eggs (or other location-established Survey Nuts). Survey Nuts are intended to be placed in every corner and key point of a structure. Once in place Survey Nuts can, for instance, provide a three dimensional electronic blueprint 195 of that structure.
  • [0012]
    In addition to survey-related uses, property owners can utilize Survey Eggs/Nuts to mini-broadcast a commerce communications cloud—an extranet referred to as a “ComCloud” for convenience—from (or within) their property to (a) synchronously interact with others without necessarily utilizing the Internet.
  • [0013]
    For example (FIG. 5), the property owner can, via means such as Bluetooth, wirelessly post their “garage sale” items to their ComCloud. Others with devices such as mobile handsets who are walking or driving by 503 and who have created a profile of items they are shopping for, are notified of profile matches for the “garage sale” items. The two parties can then message each other via the ComCloud to set up a time to inspect and possibly purchase the item(s).
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0014]
    Survey Eggs address and disrupt the vast worldwide market for property/structure surveys. Hundreds of millions of surveys are performed worldwide each year, with an average cost often above $1,000 in developed countries. Because most boundary surveys do not leave permanent boundary markers such surveys may be performed over and over again on the same property/structure.
  • [0015]
    Performing the same boundary survey over and over again is extremely wasteful. Survey Eggs address this obvious problem with a new type of permanent electronic boundary/survey marker 403, 404, 405, 406.
  • [0016]
    The subdivision maps 401 maintained at County Assessor's Offices are sometimes inaccurate, especially for older subdivisions.
  • [0017]
    Most subdivision maps rely on what are called Survey Monuments. These are physical nails or plaques that are placed in/on the ground and act as the reference points for official subdivision surveys. Over time however, some Survey Monuments are lost or incorrectly replaced. This happens, for example, when a Survey Monument is located in a sidewalk or road that is torn up to access underground utilities, and then re-surfaced. Survey Monuments are supposed to be replaced in exactly the same spot, but in practice they are sometimes replaced inaccurately.
  • [0018]
    The result is tens of billions of dollars of wasted time, and unnecessarily lengthy surveys, to re-establish an accurate starting point for each survey. Survey Eggs also act as permanent and accurately re-locatable Survey Monuments.
  • [0019]
    Among other uses, Survey Eggs amass location data to produce subdivision plot maps that may be more accurate than those currently available, and are continuously available at minimal cost—compared to the thousands of dollars spent each time a plot owner needs to do any redevelopment (such as building a new house, or a house addition, or a new sidewalk, or new road, or municipal building, etc.).
  • [0020]
    The online plot maps Survey Eggs produce provide impetus for resolution of differing boundary surveys—as well as a basis for updating inaccurate legal descriptions of properties—all of which benefits property owners and Assessor's Offices in producing highly reliable and accurate property boundary 402 and subdivision 401 maps.
  • [0021]
    Surveyors (In embodiments, surveyors install and maintain Survey Eggs, and may revenue share the software, services and transaction income from those Survey Eggs); Government entities (Municipalities may offer new residents a discount on boundary Survey Egg service fees in exchange, for example, for a portion of the Survey Egg CloudCast monthly revenue); Architects (Because architects require the survey (and blueprint) data, they may market Survey Eggs to clients on a monthly basis (with an ongoing revenue sharing relationship), rather than utilizing conventional art (one-time) survey (and blueprint) techniques/methods); Geology organizations (may want the types of datasets that Survey Eggs produce, and seek grants/funds to obtain (aggregated) Survey Egg data); Tourist boards (may co-market the ComCloud travel guide features, in exchange for a cut of revenue from paid guides/tours); Web Drops (Web Drops are places in the real world where users (or objects) can gain access to a wider network of other users or objects, generally via wireless networks, both paid (such as a carrier wireless network) and unpaid (such as Bluetooth). For example, in embodiments, Survey Eggs can be utilized to transfer cellphone (wireless) traffic to landline/fiber optic networks).
  • [0022]
    Survey Eggs provide vital connections between the online and offline worlds, and may play a vital role in the transformation of the conventional art network architecture. Survey Eggs/Nuts not only establish locations, but fundamentally change people's lives, via the interactions and transactions enabled by Survey Eggs CloudCast, as well as the marketing and merchandising of products and services.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0023]
    The Invention, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein like reference numerals identify like or similar elements, and wherein:
  • [0024]
    FIG. 1 is a functional block diagram and schematic of an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of a wireless location-establishing device and system in accordance with the Invention.
  • [0025]
    FIG. 2 is a schematic of an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment illustrating how a user might physically interact with and manage the Invention.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 3 is a depiction of one of a plurality of Invention installation embodiments, in this case above-grade, on a spike, and powered by a solar cell array.
  • [0027]
    FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating how installing the Invention (“Survey Eggs”) at the corners of a property, enables the Survey Eggs to calculate distances and thereby create a boundary survey map, that can be synchronized electronically with an official parcel map.
  • [0028]
    FIG. 5 is an exemplifying diagram illustrating an embodiment of a system, service and method for broadcasting and matching profiles in accordance with the Invention.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 6 is a diagram of an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of a wireless location establishing device establishing its location via a plurality of means including, Internet-based data, nearby location-established structures such as WiFi towers, or even other location-establishing devices—including such devices as various Invention device embodiments referred to as Survey Eggs or Survey Nuts.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 7 is a diagram of an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of a wireless location-establishing device establishing its location via triangulation.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 8 is a screenshot illustrating an embodiment of an example data display modality, that the Invention owner can customize via their computing device or mobile handset, and which is based upon various optional Invention attachments.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 9 is a diagram of an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment wherein the Invention is employed by a commercial enterprise to facilitate a profile broadcast, and thereby interact and transact with users.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 10 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of advertising profile acquisition, creation, and matching, as per the Invention's facilities and algorithms.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 11 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein a user scans a movie ad in a newspaper, whereupon the user's movie profile is updated, and thereby the movie-providing entities send ads, offers, and information per the user's profile.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 12 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example user profile, wherein the movie profile is informed by a data tile for every movie the user has already seen, in addition to a tile for each movie the user would like to see in the future; as combined with optional location and score data.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 13 is a functional block diagram illustrating a depiction of a user's advertising profile, and the constituent elements therein; in addition to a depiction of an embodiment of a simple schematic illustrating the functional relationships between the user and the product and service providers.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 14 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of example process steps followed by advertisers as they first pay a user to view and review a user's profile, to thereby determine if it's advantageous to pay to send the user ads; and further consider paying additional monies for priority data placement (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user is paid; as opposed to a middleman entity).
  • [0038]
    FIG. 15 is an illustrative example of an embodiment of the profile creation process depicting one of a plurality of profile creation and management user interface screens; in this case, manual profile creation via checklists or barcode scanning (as opposed to the Invention's automatic profile creation facilities).
  • [0039]
    FIG. 16 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example user interface screen, wherein the value of information in a profile is measured (among other factors) by how current, how fresh, the information is.
  • [0040]
    FIG. 17 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein products are interacting with the user (via the use of RFID); as per the user's profile the Invention is allowing the crackers to send the user information, but not allowing information from the soup or cereal. Additionally, the diagram illustrates an embodiment of an example of how scanning the grocery receipt can, if the user wishes, automatically add those items from that purchase to the user's ad profile.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 18 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example architecture wherein a user's ad profile informs how, when and where a user would like to receive ads, in addition to which ads to receive.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 19 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique ad management facility, a Spherez, wherein ads/offers/info/et. al. a user receives are received in thumbnail tiles that are mapped onto (in this case) a sphere; whereupon the sphere information management facility attracts like content to it, for which the user may be paid directly by the ad sender, for prominent placement on the user's topic-specific sphere.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 20 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of coupon profile acquisition, creation, and matching, as per the Invention's facilities and algorithms.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 21 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein a user scans a movie ad in a newspaper, whereupon the user's movie profile is updated, and thereby the movie-providing entities send coupons, offers, and information per the user's profile.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 22 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of a user's coupon profile, and the constituent elements therein; in addition to a depiction of an embodiment of a simple schematic illustrating the functional relationships between the user and the product and service providers.
  • [0046]
    FIG. 23 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of example process steps followed by advertisers as they first pay a user to view and review a user's profile, to thereby determine if it's advantageous to pay to send the user coupons; and further consider paying additional monies for priority data placement (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user is paid; as opposed to a middleman entity).
  • [0047]
    FIG. 24 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique information management facility, a Spherez, wherein coupons/offers/info/et. al. a user receives are received in thumbnail tiles that are mapped onto (in this case) a sphere; whereupon the sphere information management facility attracts like content to it, for which the user may be paid directly by the coupon sender, for prominent placement on the user's topic-specific sphere.
  • [0048]
    FIG. 25 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein products are interacting with the user (via the use of RFID); as per the user's profile the Invention is allowing the crackers to send the user information, but not allowing information from the soup or cereal. Additionally, the diagram illustrates an embodiment of an example of how scanning the grocery receipt can, if the user wishes, automatically add those items from that purchase to the user's coupon profile.
  • [0049]
    FIG. 26 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example architecture wherein a user's coupon profile informs how, when and where a user would like to receive coupons, in addition to which coupons to receive.
  • [0050]
    FIG. 27 is an illustrative example of an embodiment of the profile creation process depicting one of a plurality of profile creation and management user interface screens; in this case, manual profile creating via checklists or barcode scanning (as opposed to the Invention's automatic profile creation facilities).
  • [0051]
    FIG. 28 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a method for server-side profile configuration and transaction facilitation as per mobile handset scanning and broadcast.
  • [0052]
    FIG. 29 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example wherein both product/service providers as well as the user broadcast their profiles, which are then profile-matched by the Invention; thereupon filtering for just those coupons/offers/information/et. al. the user desires.
  • [0053]
    FIG. 30 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of the transmutation process, wherein a plurality of content on a traditional Website is filtered as per a user's profile for just the desired subset of content, which is then transferred to the user's device as a ParaSite, a customized local copy of the Website; in addition to a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of a method for extracting the profile-based subset of content which informs the ParaSite—the customized local copy of the Website.
  • [0054]
    FIG. 31 is a depiction of an embodiment of a method for users to navigate through the thumbnail tiles representing their various custom, local Websites (ParaSites); which can be accomplished on a touchscreen by flicking through the tiles with one's finger.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 32 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique information management facility, wherein ParaSites (custom, local Websites) a user receives are received in thumbnail tiles that are mapped onto (in this case) a sphere; whereupon the sphere information management facility attracts like content to it. A sphere is a convenient navigation modality for ParaSites, particularly on mobile handset-sized devices.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 33 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture for a method whereby real world interactions inform changes to a user's ParaSite.
  • [0057]
    FIG. 34 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a method for server-side profile configuration and transaction facilitation as per mobile handset scanning and broadcast.
  • [0058]
    FIG. 35 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of example process steps followed by advertisers as they first pay a user to view and review a user's profile, to thereby determine if it advantageous to pay to send the user ads; and further consider paying additional monies for priority data placement (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user is paid; as opposed to a middleman entity).
  • [0059]
    FIG. 36 is a functional block diagram of an embodiment of an example of profile-based links Unlike links on Webpages, which take different users who click on the same link to the same destination, ParaSites links are profile-based, and thus take different users to different destinations based upon each user's profile.
  • [0060]
    FIG. 37 is a depiction of an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture illustrating a method by which users can create ParaSites, and the interactive relationship between the hosted Website and the ParaSite.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 38 is a table illustrating the distinctions between the Web's (and therefore Websites') aging fundamental technologies, and their modern, designed for the mobile handset age, replacements including the present Invention's constituent components, data “tiles” (hereafter “Tilz”), which supplant and/or update the aging hypertext markup language protocol.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 39 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a ParaSite, that not only is a Tilz as whole, but each element of the ParaSite (text, photos, ads, etc.) are each Tilz themselves—each Tilz with its own IP address. Tilz within Tilz.
  • [0063]
    FIG. 40 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of the transmutation process, wherein content in any language format is translated into the Invention's unique universal mobile digital-content format MDF—everything is transmuted into one thing, a Tilz. Providing additional detail is a functional block diagram of an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of the client and server software systems that inform the Tilz Platform functionality.
  • [0064]
    FIG. 41 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of how Tilz can be utilized to program a user's ceiling fan light while the user is away on vacation.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 42 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example user profile, wherein the movie profile is informed by a tile of information, a Tilz, for every movie the user has already seen, in addition to a Tilz for each movie the user would like to see in the future; as combined with optional location and score data.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 43 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of Tilz as the constituent elements of a user's profile broadcast which was just informed by the user scanning an ad for a movie the user wanted to see; whereupon a commercial slot is later filled when that user watches TV by the Tilz of the movie trailer for the movie whose ad the user scanned.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 44 is an illustration of an embodiment of an example depiction of the conceptual basis for Tilz: Tilz are like a digital baseball card for every object, person, idea, anything, everything.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 45 is a table illustrating the distinctions between the Web's aging fundamental technologies, and their modern, designed for the mobile handset age, replacements including the present Invention, Tilz which supplant and update the aging hypertext markup language protocol.
  • [0069]
    FIG. 46 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a Website, that not only is a Tilz as whole, but each element of the Website (text, photos, ads, etc.) are each Tilz themselves—each Tilz with its own IP address. Tilz within Tilz.
  • [0070]
    FIG. 47 is a functional block diagram of an embodiment of an example of profile-based links Tilz, which functionally replaces Websites, also contain links to additional information; however, unlike links on Webpages, which take different users who click on the same link to the same destination, Tilz links are profile-based, and thus may take different users to different destinations based upon each user's profile.
  • [0071]
    FIG. 48 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of Tilz as the constituent elements of profiles, which are matched, by matching the data/metadata appurtenant to Tilz; thereby facilitating desirable features such as Tilz-based profiles preventing information overload. Only desired content (Tilz) gets through to the user.
  • [0072]
    FIG. 49 is a depiction of an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture illustrating a plurality of methods by which users can create Tilz.
  • [0073]
    FIG. 50 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of profile acquisition, creation, and matching, as per the Invention's facilities and algorithms.
  • [0074]
    FIG. 51 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of a simplified hardware for an embodiment of the present Invention (Mobi), and the functional facilities that inform one or more Mobi embodiments.
  • [0075]
    FIG. 52 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of a user's profile broadcast, which the user creates with, and, in some embodiments, broadcasts from, the present Invention; in addition to a depiction of an embodiment of a simple schematic illustrating the functional relationships between the user and the product and service providers.
  • [0076]
    FIG. 53 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example wherein both product/service providers as well as the user broadcast their profiles, which are then profile-matched by the Invention; thereupon filtering for just those ads/coupons/information/et. al. the user desires.
  • [0077]
    FIG. 54 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a method for server-side profile configuration and transaction facilitation as per mobile handset scanning and broadcast.
  • [0078]
    FIG. 55 is a diagram of an embodiment of an example of the present Invention.
  • [0079]
    FIG. 56 is a diagram of an embodiment of an example of the present Invention.
  • [0080]
    FIG. 57 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique information management facility, a Spherez, wherein data a user receives are configured into thumbnail tiles that are mapped onto (in this case) a sphere; whereupon the sphere information management facility attracts like content to it, for which the user may be paid directly by the data tile sender, for prominent placement on the user's topic-specific sphere.
  • [0081]
    FIG. 58 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of a method for determining whether an intersection of interest exists pursuant to interactions and/or transactions.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
  • [0082]
    The present Invention is described in one or more embodiments in the following description with references to the Figures. While the Invention is described in terms of the primary modes for achieving the Invention's objectives, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the Invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents as supported by the disclosures and drawings herein.
  • Devices
  • [0083]
    Shaped and sized slightly larger than a hen's egg in a preferred embodiment FIG. 1, although other embodiments contemplate other sizes, compact, secure, waterproof Survey Eggs contain a GPS device that can accurately locate its position in one of several ways including (FIG. 7): communicating with orbiting GPS satellites 701 or triangulating from three or more location-established fixed objects such as WiFi 601 or cell site towers 701.
  • [0084]
    Survey Eggs enable, for instance, surveyors to permanently establish the boundary points of property lines. The resultant boundary/location information 402 can then be transmitted to subscribers, such as the Survey Eggs Website, the user, any number of online map services, or even the County Assessor's office for official filing 401. Survey Eggs address the problem wherein property owners pay over and over again to have boundary points located, at considerable expense each time. Survey Eggs are placed in the ground once, and for an optional monthly fee, boundary points are permanently located and signaled. Once location has been established, the device(s) can transmit and receive a variety of data based upon location, profile, and other factors, facilitating novel interactions and transactions.
  • [0085]
    A ruggedized embodiment, Gotz Dotz, are compact, secure, waterproof, reflective, location aware, intelligent path marking units (primarily utilized in commercial, municipal, and federal applications), that may serve, for instance, as replacement for Botts' dots on highways to divide lanes of traffic. Gotz Dotz can also comprise a wireless service network (method) to store and transmit geo-based data.
  • [0086]
    Another embodiment, Survey Nuts, are typically smaller location sensing devices. They are primarily intended for use in establishing all the corners and edges of structures—and are often installed at the time the structure in being constructed. Once in place they can, for instance, produce a three dimensional electronic blueprint of the structure 195.
  • Potential Survey Egg/Nut Points
  • [0087]
    50 million single family home plots in the U.S. (and almost 1 billion worldwide) with 3 points minimum (and a greater number for rectangular or odd-shaped lots), plus multi-family dwellings such as apartments/condos, plus commercial structures/buildings such as office buildings, gas stations, grocery stores, etc.
  • [0088]
    Roads, bridges, antennae, street light posts, telephone poles, ocean buoys, mountaintops, streams, glacier edges (to monitor melting), etc.
  • [0089]
    City, county, state, and national survey points: buildings, parks, monuments, sidewalks, etc.
  • Survey Egg Extranet
  • [0090]
    In addition to survey-related uses, property owners can utilize Survey Eggs to mini-broadcast a commerce communications cloud (“ComCloud”)—essentially an extranet from their property to (a) synchronously interact with others (and other entities) via mobile device (or other devices) without necessarily utilizing the Internet. Users can post items to their ComCloud, which can notify others walking by with a profile seeking one of those items. Survey Eggs are capable of storing information beyond their basic location information. Survey Eggs software enables the user to download data and compatible applications, such as ComCloud management software. Downloading is accomplished via any of the networking communications protocols resident on that particular Survey Egg. The ComCloud can access and utilize a user's broadband Internet access via WiFi, or other means; however user-supplied Internet access is not necessary for a ComCloud to function. ComCloud is broadcast (CloudCast) via various means such as Bluetooth, WiFi, wireless carrier network, and other means. A software widget enables users to utilize their mobile device (among other devices) to place items into their CloudCast. For example, the Bluetooth onboard the Survey Egg can be utilized to broadcast (CloudCast) user-supplied information/profiles over a distance of up to 100 meters or more from the location of any given (boundary marker) Survey Egg. So too, ads and offers, can be stored on, and delivered by, Survey Eggs without need for the Internet. And because Survey Eggs may be utilized by businesses, as well as individuals, Survey Eggs may disrupt/improve the way people get information, communicate, interact, transact, and buy and sell.
  • [0091]
    With the ComCloud management software installed, the user can manage, via various digital devices such as a mobile handset, the information broadcast by the ComCloud created by their boundary marker Survey Eggs. A digital dashboard is supplied to manage the ComCloud, including selecting the networking protocol utilized, managing the content, and setting the range of the broadcast (e.g. via online mapping service).
  • [0092]
    Once established the ComCloud can perform a number of functions (FIG. 5):
  • [0000]
    Automatically alert the power company in the case of a power outage.
    Provide lifeline alerts for the elderly. The elderly can, for example, wear a tiny Bluetooth or WiFi pendant. In embodiments, the pendant features a button for the person to press if they are in distress.
    Advertising local or property needs or information;
  • Such as:
  • [0093]
    House is for sale—and provides the details (price, square footage, digital brochure, etc.).
  • [0000]
    Homeowners can accept offers of interest from others, via a vis purchasing their home. Thus, when it comes time to sell their home, homeowners may not need the marketing services of a real estate agent, since the homeowner may have amassed a number of leads/names/profiles of parties interested in purchasing the home, thereby possibly saving thousands of dollars in real estate agent commissions.
  • [0094]
    Continuous garage sale items—not just on weekends, and without having to haul all their stuff into the driveway. Users 503 can digitally offer their items without, for example, eBay (or similar) listing fees.
  • [0095]
    Services wanted (for example, homeowner posts requests for proposals (RFPs) or otherwise seeks bids for a new paver stone driveway) 504.
  • [0096]
    Homeowners can broadcast profiles of service providers to that home. For example, if a neighbor is strolling past a house, notices the well kept yard, and wants to know the name of gardening service that keeps that yard so nice, the homeowner's ComCloud can supply the profile data tiles or “Tilz” (digital content format) of the homeowner's gardener, and possibly receive a fee from the gardener for “marketing” the gardener's business—a novel type of search; and a novel type of location-based marketing and advertising.
  • [0000]
    If, for example, a passerby 503 to the homeowner's property, likes the iron work on the homeowner's front gate, the information Tilz may be obtained from the homeowner's Survey Egg ComCloud. And the homeowner may get paid a commission, when an interested party who receives the ironwork gate Tilz, later purchases from that company.
  • [0097]
    When a user has guests over to their house, and the guest admires, say, the new granite countertops, the ComCloud can (if the homeowners wishes) deliver the Tilz of the granite countertop retailer/installer—and thereby possibly receive a marketing commission from the countertop retailer/installer. And the homeowner may get paid another commission if the party who received the Tilz from the Survey Egg/Nut ComCloud, later transacts with the granite countertop retailer/installer.
  • [0098]
    In fact, all contractors who ever worked on a person's house, and manufacturer's for every item a person owns in that house, can pay the homeowner to be on the homeowner's “CloudCast” (the ComCloud broadcast). All items: painting, artwork, silverware, couches, TVs, light fixtures, clothes . . . literally everything that user owns may have a Tilz (a digital profile of that item) that is part of that property's CloudCast.
  • [0099]
    The homeowner's ComCloud can deliver the profile Tilz for any household item, object, plant, tree, etc. the homeowner owns to persons or entities requesting such information, for free or for a fee. ComCloud thereby enables Survey Egg owners to monetize their profiles. For example, an appliance store may wish to pay the user to view that user's household appliance profile; and then pay the user again to send ads, offers, or information as per the user's profile—if the user wishes to receive same, such as when its time to upgrade or replace an item. Or the lawn may need annual aerating. Or the fireplace needs cleaning every 10 years. Companies used to pay middlemen, such as search engines, fees to find potential customers; Survey Eggs and ComCloud may disintermediate such middlemen, and enable the users to get paid instead, while exerting greater control over advertising received.
  • [0100]
    Business owners can use Survey Eggs to broadcast their ComCloud from the property on which their business is located. The ComCloud can deliver ads, offers, information, profiles, and/or coupons to passersby who can receive same via various devices such as a mobile handset 503.
  • [0101]
    With a ComCloud, it's as if that user's house/property/business had its own Myspace page—a profile of that house/property/business. Included in that profile are a Tilz for every single item relevant to that property. For example, every appliance the user owns has its own separate Tilz; there is a Tilz for every contractor who worked on/in that property; a Tilz for every knife, fork, spoon, glass, plate, couch, article of clothing, book, etc. that resides in, or relates to, that property; a Tilz for the housekeeper, pool service company, company that trimmed the trees, etc.
  • [0102]
    Survey Egg ComClouds are of particular relevance in second and third world countries where some villages are not connected to the Internet, but instead rely on peer-to-peer 503 and/or intra-village data coverage.
  • [0103]
    ComCloud broadcasts (CloudCasts) can be geo-limited by the ComCloud management software, which can be controlled via devices such as personal computers or mobile handsets. That is to say, the user may wish to control the distance certain items are CloudCast. The user may wish certain ComCloud items to conceivably be available to the entire world, by various means, such as the Internet. But, for other items, the user may wish those items/profiles/ads/coupons/etc. to be CloudCast no further than 100 meters from the Survey Egg. For example, it's nearly 6 PM and a restaurant has a few empty tables. The restaurant may want to limit their CloudCast ads and coupons, to those parties 504 within a few miles, and thus those who can get there by 6 PM.
  • [0104]
    Having generally described operation of the systems and methods for location establishment and profile-based messaging, various embodiments will be described with respect to FIGS. 1-9.
  • [0105]
    Referring to the accompanying drawings wherein the same reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements:
  • [0106]
    FIG. 1 shows an architecture of an embodiment of an in-situ location sensing system in accordance with the Invention which is designated generally as system 10.
  • [0107]
    System 10, hereafter “Survey Eggs,” consists of the multiple embodiments of in-situ location sensing devices (ILSD) and/or fixed location sensing devices ((FLSD), in addition to a Website 160, mapping and blueprint software (application programming interfaces APIs) 165, server software 170 and 175 and a widget 190 (Webified mini software application) configured for operation with a variety of digital computing devices including mobile handsets. The widget 190 enables users to engage and manage a number of location-based services the Survey Eggs engender. The Website 160 (and/or widget 190) contains, in addition to survey related features and functions, social networking tools such as profiles, comment sharing, blogging, chat, message boards, media sharing, social mapping and tagging/geo-tagging. Finally, there are online and offline tools for broadcasting profiles 170 and 185 via means such as the Internet, and various non-Internet means such as Bluetooth (such means collectively referred to hereafter as “CloudCasting”).
  • [0108]
    In embodiments remotely-programmable Survey Eggs 100 contain a microprocessor 101, NAND chip flash storage capacity 101 and a Linux-based operating system or other operating system compatible with the Survey Eggs software 180. Various electronic interfaces including input/output IO ports, direct memory access (DMA) circuitry, etc. are not included in the schematic of FIG. 1 as such interfaces are well known to those skilled in the art. Survey Eggs 100 are configured with global positioning satellite (GPS) facilities and software for management thereof, including transmission of location information to local and remote sources. A module is configured to perform calculations pursuant to differential distance figuring, with particular regard to other Survey Eggs 100, as well as mobile and fixed objects such as GPS-equipped mobile handsets and cell site towers respectively.
  • [0109]
    Survey Eggs 100 embodiments sans GPS are provided, configured to be placed in key points of a structure, property, object or other thing, and to thereby triangulate (or otherwise fix) its location by utilizing at least three external location-established devices or other things, such that the location and/or physical makeup of the structure, property, object or other thing may be determined. A module is configured such that digital blueprints may be automatically generated and published based in part upon the prior determined data. A broadcast module is configured to transmit and/or receive messages/data of various types based upon a plurality of factors such as location and/or profile. Such an embodiment is hereafter referred to as “Survey Nuts.”
  • [0110]
    Survey Eggs server-side facilities 180 are provided. A profile serving and matching facility 170 is configured to transmit profiles to/from Survey Eggs 100 as well as other remote devices. The profile serving and matching facility 170 includes algorithms configured to filter and match a plurality of available ads/offers/information/et. al. (configured into data “tiles” or the homonym thereto, data “Tilz”) based upon metadata for each such ads/offers/information, against profiles of items a user has indicated a desire to receive (or not) ads/offer/information for. A database server 175 facilitates user profiles and preferences, as well as a rules facility by which certain actions must accord. A report creation and transmission module is configured to accept data from Survey Eggs 100 and remote sources, and therefrom produce and transmit ordered datasets such as boundary surveys and the legal descriptions thereof, to remote entities such as governing agencies. A module is configured for storage, reception, transmission and (static) broadcast 185 of messages and other data, and in particular those data configured into profiles (a module hereafter referred to as “ComCloud”). The ComCloud module includes profile creation, filtering, and matching facilities. In embodiments, one of more of the plurality of facilities/modules described in the present paragraph are configured for operation directly on/by the Survey Eggs 100.
  • [0111]
    Survey Eggs widget client-side facilities 190 are provided configured for operation on mobile handsets 190 and other devices. A report creation and transmission module is configured to accept data to/from Survey Eggs 100 and remote sources, and therefrom produce and transmit ordered datasets such as boundary surveys, and the legal descriptions thereof, to remote entities such as governing agencies. A ComCloud module is configured for operation by the Survey Eggs widget.
  • [0112]
    Users create new or update existing profiles by a plurality of means, including, for instance, scanning an ad in a newspaper for an item a user is interested in. The scan results in a query which returns a data/profile tile (Tilz), about the subject item, to the user's mobile handset 190. For example, if the user scanned an ad for an automatic driveway gate, and received the Tilz for same, the client-side Survey Eggs widget 190 queries the user as to whether or not the user would like to receive ads/offers/information pertaining to automatic driveway gates. The user's profile is updated presently by (the Survey Eggs client-side software on the user's mobile device 190, and/or) the Survey Eggs server-side facilities 180, which receive transmission of the query results via a plurality of communication modalities 185. The user's updated profile is returned therefrom to the user's Survey Eggs widget 190 and the Survey Eggs 100 for inclusion in the user's profile broadcast 185 (ComCloud). The ComCloud 185 can be configured for various broadcast distances from global to just a few feet. For example, the Survey Eggs 100 ComCloud 185 may be configured for use via Bluetooth, which has limited range. Bluetooth range may be sufficient however to reach contractors driving by a particular Survey Eggs 100-equipped property, who might otherwise be able to provision and install the user-desired automatic driveway gate (and effect the transaction pursuant thereto via ComCloud).
  • [0113]
    In embodiments, local passersby via Bluetooth (or other means) or remote users via the Internet (or other means) may broadcast their profiles in such a fashion that a Survey Eggs 100 ComCloud 185 can facilitate matches that may lead to novel interactions and transactions.
  • [0114]
    In embodiments, Survey Eggs software facilities may be configured as a Web-based application 160.
  • [0115]
    FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of the compact, secure, waterproof, weatherproof device enclosure 201. For purposes of installation, maintenance, repair or other general physical interaction, the device enclosure may be opened to reveal several interface modalities. Users with clean, dry hands may wish to avail themselves of the touchscreen interface 202 to interact with the device. The user is presented with a menu driven command structure to initialize the unit, and set its various operating parameters. For example, the unit may operate as a standalone unit, or in conjunction with other Survey Eggs. If there are more than one Survey Egg on a given property each Survey Egg must be assigned a canonical order number, to facilitate commands that are serial in nature (as opposed to commands that all Survey Eggs may execute at once, in parallel).
  • [0116]
    For those instances, when the user interacting with the Survey Egg, may be wearing gloves, and/or may have wet or muddy hands, they may interact with the Survey Egg via a finger wheel menu selector 203.
  • [0117]
    In order to facilitate repair or other tasks, the faceplate 204 is removed, to reveal the sub-enclosure 205, which features another moisture seal gasket. The mechanical interface 208 to the faceplate 204, illustrates some of the various customizable feature attachment/interface facilities, that differ for various embodiments of the Invention. Such attachments may include various types of meteorologic, gas, and/or flow sensors (among other types of attachments).
  • Licensed Installation
  • [0118]
    FIG. 3 Survey Eggs can be installed by anyone, however only licensed surveyor-installed Survey Eggs have legal merit. Survey Eggs are generally installed by personnel such as State licensed survey engineers, and all Survey Eggs and spikes (“Eggposts”) 304 so installed, have an electronic (Tilz) and/or physical tag with the survey engineer's survey license number, and survey date. If installed by someone other than a licensed surveyor, they do not have legal merit vis a vis County/State/National Property Assessor's offices.
  • [0119]
    Survey Eggs can be installed below grade, at grade, or above grade using a spike 304 (made from materials such as composite plastics and/or metal) of varying sizes (including 10 centimeters to 10 meters, for medium/deep-water applications). The spike 304 can be driven into the ground to support the Survey Egg and keep it in place. The spike 304 may be fitted with a weatherproof and waterproof Survey Egg holder 201 on top, and a special lock requiring a special type key (serial numbered and made available only to licensed surveyors) or electronic code to open.
  • [0120]
    FIG. 4 In order to provide more accurate location information than may be available via GPS alone, a Survey Eggs installation by a licensed surveyor may proceed as follows: The surveyor locates the boundary points of a property using conventional survey techniques and instruments. However, instead of simply driving wooden stakes into the ground to mark, say, the corners of the subject property, the surveyor installs Survey Eggs at each corner 403, 404, 405, 406).
  • [0121]
    Survey Eggs can be networked 185, either via hardline or wirelessly. Survey Eggs typically utilize WiFi for connectivity, but are compatible with several other networking protocols (see Internet Service and Networking Protocols below). Survey Eggs can broadcast their position to the Survey Egg Website 160 where the Survey Egg software produces an online map of the property. This map can be combined or mashed-up with online mapping services.
  • [0122]
    Each Survey Egg is assigned its own unique identification number, which is also its IP address. This IP address is the location from which the Survey Egg data can be monitored.
  • [0123]
    A boundary survey for a person's property 402, for example, can be performed by a plurality of means, including starting from a known point in a city, such as City Hall, which is frequently marked by a survey monument. A survey monument is often a metal plaque affixed to the street or sidewalk. The survey team then moves from survey monument to survey monument, utilizing a combination of laser-based and GPS survey instruments (and possibly other traditional survey instrumentation). Then, depending upon the survey methodology employed, the survey team follows the legal description to locate the first point 403 on the subject property 402 boundary line. After establishing the first boundary point, each of the successive boundary points 404, 405, and 406 are established (again depending upon the survey methodology employed).
  • [0124]
    As each boundary point is established, the surveyor installs and initializes the Survey Egg, and assigns it a canonical sequence number. Initializing consists of turning the Survey Egg power on, whereupon the Survey Egg follows a pre-programmed sequence of instructions to start up the Survey Egg software, and then, in some embodiments, establish its position by interrogating various GPS satellites. The surveyor can then rely upon the GPS location established by the installed Survey Egg, or alternatively, the surveyor can establish the position of a given boundary point, without employing the Survey Egg GPS location information, and then program this surveyor-established location into the Survey Egg, via manual interaction with the Survey Egg control panel 204 or via other means such as the Survey Eggs website 160 or widget 190.
  • [0125]
    Once initialized Survey Eggs automatically calculate distance to all other Survey Eggs (which can be limited to just those Survey Eggs on the subject property, if desired). Vis a vis the successive sequence numbered Survey Eggs, the Survey Eggs calculate the distance of each of the boundary line distances, such as from 403 to 404, and then, optionally, compare this calculated figure to the parcel map distance or even the legal description distance (if available in machine-readable format).
  • [0126]
    Upon completion of the boundary point/line establishment and calculation process, the Survey Egg software 180 then is ready to file an electronic Record of Survey (ROS), with the appropriate government agency (or other interested/authorized party/entity). Some survey companies charge a thousand dollars or more just to file the ROS, costs which the use of Survey Eggs may reduce.
  • [0127]
    There may be cases where discrepancies arise between one survey and another, or between a given survey and, say, the town parcel map 401. If, for instance, a court or other authoritative body, rules that the boundary point locations need to be altered, this can be accomplished remotely via the Survey Eggs Website 160 or widget 190, without need to physically be at the site 402, or to physically move the installed Survey Eggs, since an offset can be programmed into the Survey Egg location data.
  • [0128]
    FIG. 5 Once installed, the Survey Eggs can perform a number of functions and services. The scope of these functions and services may be determined, limited or enhanced, by the type of Survey Egg connectivity the property owner opts for. The property owner may utilize communication modalities built in to Survey Eggs such as Bluetooth to generate a broadcast of profiles (or other information or digital content), hereafter “ComCloud.” Alternatively, if the property owner has WiFi coverage that reaches the Survey Eggs, the Survey Eggs may also, or alternatively, utilize the Internet to broadcast their ComCloud (hereafter “CloudCast”). Also a user might choose to pay a monthly fee to utilize connectivity supplied by a third party, such as a wireless carrier. Users don't have to pay any entity for any type of connectivity for Survey Eggs to perform a boundary locating and marking function. Survey Eggs can be installed, say underground, then located manually, by a plurality of means, such as passing a mobile handset over the approximate location of the Survey Eggs, and listening for a staccato beep which increases in frequency as a user gets closer to being right over a buried Survey Egg; and becomes a static tone, when atop a Survey Egg.
  • [0129]
    The uses for a Survey Egg powered ComCloud are manifold (see Summary of Invention above, and Applications and Use Cases below, for exemplifying examples). For instance, a user might wish to socially network with others via their ComCloud broadcast (CloudCast) by posting various pictures, status updates, etc. for selected passersby to view. Users could expand the range of possible viewers by utilizing the Survey Egg's Internet connection to CloudCast their profiles to any interested party. Survey Egg users can choose, for instance, to have a limited-range Bluetooth CloudCast, to interact with people walking by 501. Passersby 503, can view the Survey Egg CloudCast to look for items of interest manually, or if the passerby has their own ComCloud, profile matches can be performed automatically. Let's say the property owner has an old inflatable kiddie pool in the garage they'd by happy to get rid of. But its too much hassle for a $5 item such as this, to post on a traditional Internet commerce site. The property owner could instead add the profile (a digital tile of information about that object, hereafter “Tilz”) of the kiddie pool to their Survey Egg ComCloud, and CloudCast its availability to just those persons who live or pass nearby (via various means such as Bluetooth). If a neighbor has a need for a kiddie pool, this may be a great way to obtain one with minimum expenditure of time and money, and possibly create an opportunity to meet and interact with a neighbor. Social networking, interacting and transacting, literally from an ILSD (in-situ location sensing device), is unique to the present Invention.
  • [0130]
    Survey Egg CloudCasts can also interact with drivers 504 driving by 502 the subject property to accomplish things that would otherwise take the property owner some amount of time expenditure. For instance, if the property owner wanted a paver stone driveway to replace their existing asphalt driveway, they could create an RFP (request for proposals) Tilz, seeking bids by paver stone contractors. Such an RFP Tilz could be viewed (if the property owner wished) only by licensed contractors, and further by contractors who have installed paver stone driveways before, or meet certain customer rating levels. That is to say, Survey Eggs give time back to their owners, who might otherwise have to spend hours searching for paver stone driveway contractors. Instead, when a Survey Egg owner wants or needs something, they simply place a Tilz related to same, in their ComCloud, and the information sought, comes to them, automatically.
  • [0131]
    FIG. 6 Survey Eggs 602 can establish their location by a plurality of means. For instance, Survey Eggs can triangulate 604 (or otherwise establish) their location via other location-established devices such as WiFi towers 601 or cellular carrier cell site towers (especially those whose location coordinates may have been surveyor-established). Additionally, Survey Eggs can establish their location via triangulation (or other means) of other location-establishing devices 603, such as other Survey Eggs. Survey Eggs can also establish their location via (realtime or otherwise) location datasets available via the Internet (or other means).
  • [0132]
    FIG. 7 Survey Eggs 703 can also establish their location via triangulation of cell site towers or interrogation of GPS satellites 701. However, since GPS location accuracy is purposely limited by various government agencies, Survey Eggs can establish their location with even more precision than traditional GPS, by means of dynamic GPS (hereafter dGPS).
  • [0133]
    The U.S. government, has for military security reasons, limited GPS accuracy to about 20 meters (a recent improvement (authorized in the year 2000) from the prior accuracy of about 100 meters). 20 meter accuracy is nowhere near sufficient for property surveys which may require accuracy on the order of centimeters. Survey Eggs establish their location by a plurality of means, including triangulating their location against other Survey Eggs and surveyor-located fixed objects. This calculation is performed onboard the Survey Egg, but also may be performed utilizing the Survey Egg software 165 on the user's PC, via the widget 190 on the user's digital device, or via the Survey Egg Website 159 and 160. The Survey Egg Website archives this more-accurate-than-GPS-alone data, and can provide this information to other devices. This calculation can be performed at user-set intervals, so that Survey Eggs can (always) have the best location information available. The GPS location of all Survey Eggs and GPS-located objects gets more and more accurate, as GPS-located objects update, in realtime, their 20-meter accurate location, vis a vis more accurate surveyor-established location information. And location accuracy increases as the number of Survey Eggs installed increases (since Survey Eggs can share positional location information with other Survey Eggs). Location information is dynamically updated, hence dGPS.
  • [0134]
    Other factors also inform the need for a more accurate GPS location system. The universe is dynamic and changing in size and shape. Our solar system is moving through space, as well as changing size. The sun is moving at better than 200 kilometers per second. The earth wobbles on its axis. These facts are materially important, as GPS satellites establish their position in space by means of earth and sun sensors (which have their own host of limitations). Continental drift is inexorable. Additionally, the earth's crust is in constant motion. In earthquake prone areas, portions of land shift with respect to other portions of land. Thus distances should be recalculated. The earth's crust is dynamic, so any location-establishing system that is not dynamic is inherently inaccurate.
  • [0135]
    Accordingly, an improved GPS system is desired to address these inherent location-determining deficiencies. A network of location-sensing devices, that also locate themselves via geometric triangulation from surveyor location-established fixed objects (e.g. cell site towers), and from each other, produces a more accurate system, with what may be an order of magnitude (or more) better accuracy than the currently allowed GPS accuracy.
  • [0136]
    Unlike some GPS devices, Survey Eggs can also report their position back to GPS satellites 701 (which are generally not equipped to process such information). A dynamic-GPS “dPGS” system, such as the Survey Eggs network, is more accurate and grows more accurate as each Survey Egg is added. Survey Eggs can report their position information to each other, and continuously update and improve their position accuracy. And, Survey Eggs can dynamically update all subscribed dependencies: other Survey Eggs 703, online maps, assessor subdivision maps 401, GPS systems 701, et. al., as well as other devices 603, and/or other embodiments of Survey Eggs 603.
  • [0137]
    FIG. 8 Information gathered by the Survey Egg is viewable in a number of locations. Users can view the data display on the Survey Egg itself 202. Additionally, the data can be viewed remotely via the Survey Egg Website 160 or widget 190. Users might wish to attach various items to their Survey Egg(s), such as an anemometer or temperature or rainfall gauge. Other attachment examples are discussed below in more detail. Attaching various sensors to a plurality of Survey Eggs may result in a swarm of intelligent connected devices able to broadcast and share datasets, for purposes such as environmental analytics.
  • [0138]
    FIG. 9 shows an architecture of an embodiment of wherein Survey Eggs, in accordance with the Invention, have been installed at a commercial location, and which are transmitting the profile of said business; and which architecture is designated generally as system 900.
  • [0139]
    Yogurt Store 919, Pizza Place 920 and Dry Cleaner 921 have each installed one or more Survey Eggs (or other Invention embodiments). Survey Eggs broadcast the aforementioned businesses' profiles 916, 917, 918, via a plurality of means including WiFi, cellular carrier network, Bluetooth, and other communication modalities. These profiles might include (but not be limited to) items such as ads 913, offers, coupons 912, and other information 914 related to that business. Businesses could, for example, broadcast their actual realtime inventory levels 908 of each item they carry.
  • [0140]
    Rather than bombard each user 903 or entity 909 within reach of that business' broadcast, the businesses employ the Invention's profile matching facility 907, wherein the businesses profiles are matched against the profiles 905 of the user 902 or entities receiving the profile broadcast.
  • [0141]
    As per the present exemplifying architecture (FIG. 9), the user 902 happens to be broadcasting the user's profiles via Bluetooth via the user's mobile handset 901. According to the user's profile 905 the user is unwilling to receive yogurt coupons 912 or dry cleaning information 914; whereupon like items are rejected by the Invention's profile matching facility—the yogurt coupon is rejected 911, and thereby does not attempt to gain the user's attention or clutter up the user's profile; and similarly the dry cleaning information is rejected 915.
  • [0142]
    On the other hand, the user's profile 905 is amenable to pizza ads 913, and thus a match 922 is accorded by the Invention's profile matching facility 907. Thus that pizza ad 906 is transmitted to the user's profile 905. Depending upon the user's preference profile, the user might view the ad right away, or, for example, that pizza ad 906 might be inserted into a commercial break when the user 902 is watching television later that night.
  • [0143]
    Furthermore, the pizza ad can be presented in a plurality of digital formats, including Tilz (which are a transactable objects), and thus, for example, upon viewing the ad, the user 902 could choose to order a pizza, and pay for same via the user's digital device 901 (via said Tilz).
  • [0144]
    Other embodiments are envisioned, wherein entities other than businesses such as other people, government entities, objects, machines, and other entities, might utilize a version of system 900 (or other embodiments of the Invention) in order to interact and transact with various entities.
  • [0145]
    In many cases, however, some/all entities involved broadcast the profiles of their wants and needs 904, 908, including, for instance, the various products/services the entities utilize/offer, and the Invention thereby facilitates interaction and transactions by matching said profiles.
  • [0146]
    These and other objects and features of the present Invention may become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the description and practice of the Invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • Gotz Dotz
  • [0147]
    Gotz Dotz are an embodiment of Survey Eggs. Gotz Dotz also comprise a wireless service network (method) to store and transmit geo-based data. In embodiments, Gotz Dotz serve as replacement for Botts' dots on highways to divide lanes of traffic. Compact, secure, waterproof, reflective, location aware, intelligent path marking units, Gotz Dotz are rounded raised plastic, ceramic or polyester (or other materials) domes (or other shapes) that serve as road lane (pavement) markers. Gotz Dotz are primarily utilized in commercial, municipal, and federal applications. Gotz Dotz can also help establish locations of roads in countries where reliable digital maps don't exist. Once in place, Gotz Dotz can automatically create digital maps for the area traversed by that road, path, sidewalk or trail marked by Gotz Dotz.
  • [0148]
    Gotz Dotz can establish location information via GPS and other means such as triangulation. In embodiments, Gotz Dotz can monitor traffic flow/speed, and can provide warnings such as vehicles veering out of lanes (e.g. when users may be falling asleep at the wheel). Gotz Dotz can interact with a car's navigation system or other onboard digital devices, such as a user's mobile handset. Gotz Dotz can act as Web Drop data points: users traveling along a road for instance, can get and leave location-based information. Users frustrated by the daily heavy traffic at a particular intersection can leave a complaint for city officials, actually at that location via the Gotz Dotz. Users can simply speak their message to their mobile handset, which creates a query data tile (Tilz), which is sent to the Gotz Dotz at that location. Gotz Dotz store information about items related to that location/area including, for example: “Stoplights are currently not timed and should be corrected by the City by the end of March.” Government road maintenance organizations can leave information there, actually in those Gotz Dotz, that can be accessed via Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular radio, or other means. Furthermore, other motorists can leave comments and complaints as well as answer each other's questions, directly via the Gotz Dotz.
  • [0149]
    Gotz Dotz are the Survey Eggs embodiments for highways and can perform the same/similar functions as per the descriptions below. In embodiments radio frequency identification RFID is built-into Gotz Dotz. Gotz Dotz are powered by a plurality of means such as: low cost solar cells, heat of the pavement, impact energy of vehicles driving over them, radio waves, et. al. Each Gotz Dotz has its own identification ID number, which is also its IP address, and which is captured in an IP barcode. Gotz Dotz data handoff: transceive to/from available wired/wireless networks, sync to/from passing cars (Bluetooth, WiFi, RFID), communicate with emergency roadside phones (as a means of transmitting information back to central servers, or outside applications or other networks), et. al. Regarding syncing to passing cars, users can hand off profiles and Tilz as they pass by. Gotz Dotz then seek out profile matches and can return results further up the road. Users could sell their sofa, for instance, by driving down the road, and having Gotz Dotz match up that Sofa Sell profile with another user who has a Sofa Sought profile. Gotz Dotz are transactable nodes. Users don't have to make the dangerous walk down the highway to get to the nearest emergency roadside phone, as Gotz Dotz can act as mini relay stations enabling such (VOIP) phone calls to be made.
  • Survey Nuts
  • [0150]
    Survey Nuts are an embodiment of Survey Eggs. Survey Nuts are roughly the size of peanuts, although other sizes are also contemplated. They contain a smaller version of Survey Egg electronics with differing functionality and features. Survey Nuts automatically locate themselves and broadcast their position. They do not use satellite GPS to locate themselves, instead triangulating from three or more of the boundary Survey Eggs (or other objects which have location-established themselves) to establish their position. Survey Nuts location data can be sent via low power repeater to the designated central base-station Survey Egg.
  • [0151]
    Survey Nuts usually have to be within a 10 to 100 meter distance (Bluetooth range) of at least three Survey Eggs to triangulate the location of that Survey Nut. Survey Nuts optionally equipped with sonic pinging or radio telemetry can triangulate to Survey Eggs from distances greater than 100 meters. Alternatively, a Survey Nut can triangulate its location from three or more Survey Nuts which have already established their location via one of the means discussed above.
  • [0152]
    Survey Nuts are in-situ location establishing devices (or FLSDs). Survey Nuts consist of a Website, mapping and blueprint software (application programming interfaces APIs), server software, and a widget (Webified mini software application). The widget enables users to engage and manage a number of location-based services, that Survey Nuts engender. There are also online/offline tools for CloudCasting profiles, comments, blogging, message boards, media sharing, social mapping and tagging/geo-tagging. Each remotely programmable Survey/Nut contains a microprocessor, flash storage, and an operating system. Survey Nuts determine relative location.
  • Absolute Vs Relative Location
  • [0153]
    Survey Eggs are absolute. A single Survey Egg can establish its position without need for any other Survey Eggs or Survey Nuts.
  • [0154]
    Survey Nuts are relative. Survey Nuts establish their position relative to other Survey Nuts and/or other Survey Eggs and/or other objects which have had their locations established.
  • [0155]
    In embodiments, Survey Nuts are intended to be placed (during construction) in every corner and key point of structures such as buildings, bridges, dams, and facilities (such as airports, schools, etc.). Once in place, Survey Nuts can provide a three dimensional electronic blueprint 195 for the subject structure, via the Survey Egg client/server software or by uploading the resultant location data to third party architecture/drawing software programs.
  • [0156]
    Survey Nuts can be installed by anyone (homeowners, contractors building a house/sidewalk/pool, etc.)—i.e. they do not require a licensed surveyor, though their installation may be certified by a licensed architect and/or contractor (or other person/entity) for an additional imprimatur of credibility and accuracy.
  • Field Locatable
  • [0157]
    Survey Eggs are field locatable, via wireless mobile device, including non-GPS devices, using protocols such as Bluetooth, RFID, and WiFi. Users are not required to have Internet service. If users desire realtime monitoring, they can utilize connectivity from by wireless carriers, or WiFi at the home/office/property, or (tethering) via Bluetooth from mobile devices, or other means. Both Survey Eggs and Survey Nuts can be field-located by using a GPS-equipped mobile handset (or other devices). They can also be located by a non-GPS, Bluetooth-equipped wireless mobile handset which can transceive signals with the Survey Egg/Nut (without need for Internet access). The mobile handset user may hear a series of staccato beeps, which becomes a solid tone when the mobile handset is immediately above/below the Survey Egg/Nut. Thus surveyors and contractors and property owners, as they walk near the Survey Eggs (which may be buried in the ground), can locate the boundary points to the subject building, plot of land, road, bridge, mountaintop, etc. Other network protocols such as RFID and WiFi may also be used to field-locate Survey Eggs.
  • Internet Service
  • [0158]
    Survey Egg users are not required to have any ongoing Internet service contract. However if they desire real-time monitoring, Survey Eggs can utilize Internet connectivity from such sources as: Cellphone service providers or wireless carriers, WiFi at the home/office/property, and/or Free local/municipal WiFi service.
  • [0159]
    Providing the network for Survey Egg CloudCasts may result in the carrier receiving a cut of all the software, services, and transactions revenue therefrom. As customers drop their landlines in favor of wireless, Survey Eggs (in embodiments) become the Web Drops that connect to existing landlines, and become the wireless nodes to interface with the landline and/or broadband providers' ubiquitous WiFi service. Then those entities may participate in the software, services and transaction income on that network.
  • Networking Protocols
  • [0160]
    Survey Eggs feature networking capabilities: WLAN (wireless local area network such as WiFi), and/or WMAN (wireless MAN such as the recently published IEEE 802.16 spec) and/or WWAN (wireless wide area network such as GPRS). Survey Eggs/Nuts are Bluetooth and RFID compatible. Optional weatherproof external connectors include: a standard Ethernet adapter and a HomePlug 1.0 spec adapter (utilizing a power line to supply both power and Internet connectivity).
  • Solar Power
  • [0161]
    Survey Eggs contain a lithium-ion (or other type of) battery, which can be solar sustained 302.
  • [0000]
    Survey Egg options include:
    Solar cell panel on the skyfacing surface of the Survey Egg for those Survey Eggs to be located above ground.
    Remote solar panel (of various sizes, including 5″×5″) that attaches to the Survey Egg via weatherproof external connector, for those Survey Eggs located underground, or those above ground but in a shady spot. The solar panel option currently includes various wire choices up to 30 meters in length.
  • Solar Powered Extranet
  • [0162]
    For those users who choose to set up and broadcast their own extranet (sans any external Internet service), a separate solar powered battery option is available FIG. 3. This larger capacity, higher voltage battery almost fills the volume of an entire Survey Egg (in some embodiments) and is powered by one or more of the same optional solar cell grids as regular Survey Eggs.
  • [0163]
    The solar Survey Egg always draws its power from the solar cell and its separate rechargeable lithium-ion battery, until the voltage drops below an acceptable level, at which point the Survey Egg automatically switches to the primary lithium-ion battery. The Survey Egg runs on the primary battery until the solar powered battery is once again capable of delivering a minimum pre-set voltage, at which point the automatic switch re-engages the solar battery.
  • High Power Survey Eggs Vs Low Power Survey Eggs
  • [0164]
    High power Survey Eggs use GPS technology to directly triangulate from GPS satellites.
  • [0165]
    Low power Survey Eggs triangulate from local sources with known locations such as WiFi hotspots and cell phone towers.
  • Geo-Tag Databases
  • [0166]
    Most new WiFi hotspots and cell phone towers are now geo-tagged as to their coordinates or GPS location. Online databases of these locations are utilized by Survey Eggs for triangulation calculations (FIG. 6).
  • Data Broadcast
  • [0167]
    Survey Eggs produce a user-selectable set of broadcast data such as the Survey Egg ID number its coordinates/location, and the remaining battery charge. Other (related) information may also be uploaded and broadcast such as easements that are near this Survey Egg, building restrictions (such as sight line preservation), parcel or tax ID numbers, property owner contact info, installation survey company contact info, etc. (as well as other data types).
  • Femtocell
  • [0168]
    One or more Survey Eggs on a property can be programmed to work in conjunction with, or even contain, a pico- or femto-cell digital signal processor. (A femtocell is a miniature cellular base station often about the size of a home wireless router, and with a similar range) Though femtocells are being used to dramatically improve cellphone service (faster downloads, clearer calls and less drain on the battery) Survey Eggs can also take advantage of a femtocell a user has installed in their home/office/building/structure to provide continuous connection to the Internet and improve battery life. An option is available to locate a femtocell inside a Survey Egg. The resultant “Femto Egg” is generally placed inside the structure (rather than outside in the ground) and plugged via Ethernet cable directly into the user's broadband connection.
  • Radiation Shielding
  • [0169]
    All Survey Eggs and Nuts feature substantial radiation shielding. The sun routinely experiences cycles of sunspot activity. Solar Cycle 23, is experiencing peak activity that is expected to decay gradually over the next few years, before building again for the next solar cycle. There is concern that some of the most powerful solar storms in decades could arrive during the next solar cycle. A sunspot is an area of intense magnetic activity on the surface of the sun. During a solar storm, highly charged particles ejected from the sun may head toward Earth, where they can bring down power grids and disrupt communications.
  • Sensor Options
  • [0170]
    Survey Eggs optionally contain user-selectable sensors of various types to monitor such items as: humidity, temperature, radiation, and gases such as carbon dioxide, etc. (FIG. 8).
  • Alternate-Use Optional Attachments
  • [0171]
    Survey Eggs can also be connected to other optional attachments:
    Anti-gopher/mole underground signal generators (which produce an unpleasant noise/vibration which may drive away some unwanted rodents).
    Invisible pet fences (attach a Survey Nut to a pet's collar to limit or track the pet's whereabouts (display the location data on the user's mobile handset). Alternatively, Survey Eggs can provide the wireless signal to a collar worn around the pet's neck, which delivers a small shock if the pet tries to cross the property boundary line).
  • Egg Customization
  • [0172]
    Survey Eggs/Nuts can be customized and personalized by users via the use of skins. Skins are stickers/decals that can be applied to the Survey Egg/Nut that offer the user a plurality of colors, patterns, photos, logos, etc.
  • [0173]
    Corporations might pay users to display the company's logo—sponsored Eggs. Such fees might be utilized to reduce an Survey Egg/Nut monthly fees, if any.
  • [0174]
    Dimensional diagrams for skins are supplied on the Survey Eggs website, so that all users have to do is upload a graphical image to the website for cropping as per the dimensions of the Survey Eggs/Nuts diagrams. Users can also download the dimensional diagrams to a digital device and software of their choice to further customize their skins.
  • [0175]
    Users then print out the stickers/decals at their own printers or professional print shops.
  • ComCloud Customization
  • [0176]
    Users can also customize the ComCloud message broadcast by each Survey Egg.
  • [0177]
    Each Survey Egg has on-board storage for users to download text, images, audio or video files, or other items to. When passersby walk near the user's Survey Eggs with a mobile handset configured to receive such data, the passersby may receive the user's ComCloud broadcast while in range (503). The Survey Egg may also deliver a digital file to passersby's mobile handsets, if both the user and the passersby have selected those profile settings.
  • [0178]
    Examples of such extranet customization include the ability to offer “ringtones” for a property (a song clip played for passersby on their mobile handset), or the user's kids singing, photos of a property owner/family, and social networking-type profiles of the property owner Akin to a social network profile for a user's house, but in the real, offline, world. Users can limit which entities, others, devices and/or profiles are allowed to view various content.
  • [0179]
    And all types of ComCloud broadcasts can be accomplished with or without means such as the Internet or wireless carrier service, since ComCloud broadcasts may be effected via modalities such as Bluetooth.
  • Dashboard Control Panel
  • [0180]
    Users interact with their Survey Eggs/Nuts via a control panel, where the user can perform managerial functions such as:
  • [0000]
    Naming and/or numbering each Survey Egg/Nut.
    Numerically ordering each Survey Egg/Nut.
    Via a graphical connect-the-dots type tool, users can delineate which Eggs/Nuts should calculate distances from which other Eggs/Nuts. The result of this is an online map representing the user's Eggs/Nuts in a two or three dimensional map. This map can be mashed with various online maps.
  • Security
  • [0181]
    Among other security features, Survey Eggs are programmed to stop working if moved more than a pre-selected distance from their SET position, unless provided an override RESET code by a licensed survey engineer. The security shutdown distance can currently be set by users to be any distance from three centimeters to three meters. The SET FAULT signal is immediately broadcast to the Survey Eggs' owner if such a violation occurs.
  • Applications and Use Cases
  • [0182]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present Invention, more particular descriptions of the Invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are, in some cases, illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings and descriptions depict only typical embodiments of the Invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The Invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail via the following applications and use cases.
  • Automatic Legal Descriptions of Properties
  • [0183]
    Survey Eggs in the corners or boundary points of a user's property not only inform the subdivision map but may also create an accurate legal description suitable for submission to, for instance, the County Assessor's Office. Each Survey Egg calculates the distance between itself, and all the other Survey Eggs on the property. It performs this task generally once per day (or any other user selectable interval, such as every second or once per year). Each of the Survey Egg coordinates is wirelessly transmitted via the Internet to the designated Website (or other location/device). Using the Survey Egg control panel the surveyor clicks on the Survey Eggs on the digital map in a sequential manner, assigning each Survey Egg an ordered number for that property (403, 404, 405, 406). The Survey Egg software then calculates each of the distances between the now sequentially numbered boundary points, and automatically produces a Metes and Bounds (or other type of) legal description of the property. For example, starting at the Northeast corner of the subject property (at Survey Egg #1), proceed 47.39 meters south (to Survey Egg #2), then turn West and head 124.69 meters . . . etc.
  • [0184]
    Cross corner distances are also calculated to ensure that in the case, say, of rectangular property plots, that all proposed boundary line angles are at 90 degrees.
  • Electronic ROS Filing
  • [0185]
    Survey Eggs can automatically, wirelessly file the Record of Survey (ROS) with the appropriate (governing) entities. An ROS can be filed electronically at County Assessor's Offices by means such as simply by sending a link to the online map displaying the surveyor-installed Survey Eggs. Assessor's Offices can, among other options, download the data set for the plot in question into their own electronic map software. This can reduce the substantial expense (in addition to the cost of the boundary survey) to property owners that surveyors charge for the filing of the ROS.
  • Detailed Landscape Surveys
  • [0186]
    Survey Eggs/Nuts/ and/or Gotz Dotz can be used to locate the edges of every road, sidewalk, and trail on the planet, as well as trees, shrubs, lawns, pools, ponds, et. al.
  • Fence Locating
  • [0187]
    Fence builders can simply pass their RFID, GPS or Bluetooth equipped mobile handset over the suspected plot corners, to easily, quickly, inexpensively and accurately locate boundary lines, along which to build the fence.
  • Government Territory Boundary Markers
  • [0188]
    Survey Eggs could be used to delineate, mark, and/or CloudCast the boundaries for government owned land: the boundary for every city (in the world), the boundary for every county (in the world), the boundary for every state (in the world), the boundary for every country (in the world), and the boundary for every National Park, State Park, City Park, National Forest, Bureau of Land Management land, etc. (in the world).
  • [0189]
    Survey Eggs can be located at every boundary direction inflection point, as well, for instance, as one Survey Egg every kilometer.
  • Parkland Marking
  • [0190]
    National, State, County and City Parks can mark their hiking and backpacking trails. Forest Service dirt roads can also be marked. Complex rock climbing areas can be marked: Buttermilk Boulders in Bishop, Calif. has over 11,000 boulder problems (climbs) in a few square miles area. Survey Eggs could precisely mark each problem and enable climbers to quickly navigate to desired boulders, and routes thereon.
  • Map Companies
  • [0191]
    Online map companies plus government map producers such as the U.S. Geological Survey all can subscribe to or offer to their customers select ComCloud data provided by the Survey Eggs in the field. This enables, for example, the satellite view from Google Maps to zoom in and show subdivision plot maps, and even display individual plot boundary demarcations.
  • Development Story Poles
  • [0192]
    Temporary Survey Eggs/EggPosts can be placed as “story poles” to show where new buildings, roads, sidewalks, etc. will be located, allowing easy and accurate locators which developers can use to lay out the proposed development. Additionally such electronic story poles can be utilized by neighbors to the development who may want to present challenges to the development. The resultant data (CloudCast) from the story poles allows the relevant development information to be shared electronically with all interested parties—such as the lawyers and/or surveyors of neighbors—without the considerable expense of such parties having to make their way to the property in person.
  • Reverse Local Advertising
  • [0193]
    Homeowners can broadcast reverse ads 504. For instance, if homeowners wanted to change their blacktop driveway to a paver stone driveway, they could put out a notice on their ComCloud that they are accepting bids for paver driveway installations. Contractors who are driving by could receive the reverse local ad on their mobile handset, stop, and get out of their truck to take the measurements needed to provide a bid—which can be submitted electronically via the homeowner's ComCloud.
  • [0194]
    Examples of reverse ads, or solicitations for bids, from a home/business ComCloud include:
  • [0000]
    Charge a contractor to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a paver stone driveway.
    Charge a painter to send the following solicitation directly to a user's home: “I see your house needs painting, especially where it is peeling on the western facade.” The painter can do this via the ComCloud without needing to know information such as the user's email address.
    Charge a realtor to send the message: “I have a buyer interested in your house.”
  • [0195]
    If a house needs a new roof, just as a person might change their social status to “single” after breaking up, the house status can be changed to “Needs new roof” to solicit bids for same. A Survey Egg ComCloud enables messaging similar to social status updates, but for a house/property/business.
  • [0196]
    These are but a few examples of a nearly limitless number of ways in which a Survey Eggs ComCloud can become a source of income for the user.
  • Property Inventory Merchandising
  • [0197]
    Users, via Survey Eggs, can sell access to property profiles or property owner profiles (which may be CloudCast) to various parties. For example, property owners can post Tilz of items they own to the property's Survey Egg ComCloud. Thereby companies can pay the user (first to view and review the profiles/Tilz, and then) to make offers to upgrade or replace an item (when it's time) as per the user's ad and coupon profiles. Examples might include: clothes, placemats, sheets, lightbulbs, et. al. which need replacing from time to time. Commercial properties or businesses can offer their items for sale without need for a conventional art Website.
  • Location-Based Advertising
  • [0198]
    Business owners can use Survey Eggs (located at the boundary corners of their commercial establishment) to broadcast their commerce cloud (ComCloud) which can deliver, for instance, ads and coupons to passersby via mobile handset. A yogurt shop, for example, could send out coupons for their daily special flavor in, say, a 100 meter radius from their facility.
  • Real-Time Weather Data
  • [0199]
    Some people have installed temperature, humidity, air pressure, and rainfall gauges that electronically transmit this information for their property, to a display unit in their home. With Survey Eggs this same information can be communicated (for free or for a fee) to weather bureaus, local new stations, and online map companies (and other entities) for compilation, analysis, and display in real-time (such as hyperlocal temperature maps for viniculturists).
  • Geologic Data
  • [0200]
    Survey Egg location data can be (provided for free or for a fee and) used by geology firms and university departments for research. Each Survey Egg calculates the distance between itself, and all the other Survey Eggs on the property. It performs this task generally once per day (or any other user selectable interval, such as every second). Cross corner distances are also calculated to ensure that in the case of rectangular (or other shaped) property plots, that intended angles are at 90 degrees. This data may change if the ground shifted.
  • [0201]
    Survey Egg software continuously records and logs all this data, which can be used to measure and monitor tectonic shifts in earthquake prone areas. And Survey Eggs equipped with various optional sensors can provide real-time, continuous temperature, soil, sound, etc. readings.
  • Environmental Sensor Networks (ESN)
  • [0202]
    Survey Eggs can form the backbone of (environment) sensor networks or sensor webs that monitor, map and assist in the management of environmental resources. Sensors can be embedded within or attached to the Survey Eggs that monitor the air, water and soil for chemicals and pollutants, and detect changes in temperature and pressure. Because Survey Eggs may already be in situ for survey related needs, they may save the cost of purpose-built environmental sensor networks. Survey Eggs can provide real-time data on a variety of phenomena that affect the environment and society, such as climate change, hurricanes, air and water pollution, and facilitate the advancement of geology, soil and land management, and agriculture. Survey Eggs can be used to track receding coastlines and to track icebergs in the Northwest Passage or elsewhere. Survey Eggs that mark the location of the pilings for piers and docks can also monitor items such as heavy-metal levels and mercury contamination in coastal areas. And Survey Eggs can aggregate and disseminate local data gathered by both mobile device users, as well as (other) sensor networks
  • [0203]
    Once Survey Eggs have created (or joined) a (worldwide wireless) sensor network, or communicate via ComCloud, this data can be automatically integrated with other data sources (such as public health records or historical climate data). Survey Eggs, in conjunction with online mapping services, then can turn the aggregated data into real-time advanced, informative graphical displays with analysis capabilities.
  • [0204]
    The environmental sensor network data can be used to help researchers understand how environments and people are linked, in order to monitor and protect natural resources, predict and adapt to environmental changes, and provide for sustainable development, as well as reduce the costs and impacts of natural disasters and provide an effective and intelligent response to such disasters.
  • Note Drop
  • [0205]
    For properties or locations that have Survey Eggs, a user can, for example, leave a digital “note” (a Tilz), in the Survey Egg ComCloud for that property, revealing the location of a little used side door to gain access to the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris for one of the user's friends—a note accessible only by those users or entities, the user stipulates.
  • Ad Hoc Transport
  • [0206]
    A user, for example, who needs to move just four furniture items to their friend's garage or a storage facility, might find it too much hassle to try to get bids for this tiny job. But if the user places a Tilz in their Survey Eggs ComCloud describing their needs, a truck 504 that happens to be driving past the homeowner's property with just enough room (or is dead heading) can, if the truck driver's profile is on the lookout for such jobs, choose to pick up this ad hoc business, enabled by the home's Survey Eggs CloudCast.
  • Widget Store
  • [0207]
    Survey Eggs can CloudCast to users appropriate widgets (software applications), in-situ, in-context, in the real world. Widgets that may be useful to a user who is, for example, standing in a particular location, are presented to the user (if the user's profile allows, and possibly only after the user gets paid). For instance, a user may be presented with a coupon widget when entering a store; or a digital travel guide when entering a small village in Europe. Survey Eggs may generate income for their owners, for instance, if the Survey Egg CloudCast charged a commission for widget sales.
  • Digital Content Store
  • [0208]
    Survey Eggs can CloudCast to users digital content of any kind, for any purpose, in-situ, and in-context, in the real world. A wide variety of digital content, such as videos: videos shot at or near that Survey Egg or a video guide to a travel monument (that has at least one Survey Egg). Music: such as songs inspired by this location or local historic music from that village. News stories: say from the local newspaper—sifted and presented as per the user's preference profile, giving the user the sports, or political, or historical information related to this site, that they desire. Or digital “notes” left for a user's friends at a particular location, stating for example: “We had to bail, the line was too long, meet us at Julie's flat.” In fact, any digital content.
  • “Electronic” Signs
  • [0209]
    Physical signs, with Survey Eggs beneath or attached to them, can CloudCast the latest, and most accurate, information. For example, the wooden sign at the Testarossa Winery reads: “Tasting Daily 11 AM-5 PM.” Yet users who venture there on the afternoon of December 24th, might be disappointed to find the tasting room closed. Before climbing the long winding driveway, users could have been informed at the bottom of the hill via Survey Eggs CloudCast, that Christmas Eve, is an exception to the stated hours of operation.
  • Trail Waypoints
  • [0210]
    For example, trail owners can utilize Survey Eggs/Nuts to locate trail junctions and waypoints along trails. Users, for instance, can utilize a GPS device to determine the trail junction location, and load it, via Bluetooth, into the Survey Egg/Nut buried there or attached to the trail sign (and the more users who download such data to the Survey Eggs/Nuts, the more accurate the data becomes, as, for instance, the mean of the those coordinates can be calculated). Then users who then hike or ski within Bluetooth range of the Survey Egg/Nut, get a hit noise on their mobile device (which may or may not be GPS-equipped).
  • [0211]
    Users can also store and pass asynchronous messages to one another via the Survey Egg/Nut, via the onboard storage and/or CloudCast.
  • [0212]
    Users can also request that another user who passes by “pick up the mail” (messages left on the Survey Egg/Nut) via their mobile device, and “deliver” it when that user is next in WiFi, or other networking protocol range—whether for free, or for a fee.
  • Air Traffic Control
  • [0213]
    Installing a Survey Egg on an airplane enables it and air traffic controllers to geo-locate planes using GPS satellites. A method with potentially superior accuracy and functionality, as compared to conventional art (World War II era) ground-based radar systems used by air traffic controllers. Survey Eggs can be utilized by (ground or air) avionics for live data telemetry/telematics.
  • Delivery Box Locations
  • [0214]
    Survey Eggs can be attached to (or beneath) every United States Post Office mailbox, as well as United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx mailboxes, with the ComCloud CloudCasting up-to-date pickup times.
  • Device Tracking
  • [0215]
    Survey Nuts can be built into (or attached onto) almost any object, and that object's location may be made trackable. Parents could clip a Survey Nut onto their child's backpack to help determine where their child is. Not a perfect solution, as Survey Nuts opportunistically utilize proximate geo-located WiFi nodes, nearby GPS mobile devices, and other means, but it is free (no monthly service fee).
  • Third Party Services
  • [0216]
    Survey Eggs and the Survey Egg ComCloud include application programming interfaces (APIs), that enable third parties to offer various services via Survey Eggs. For example, attaching a Survey Egg to a wine tank at a winery enables various third party services. Connecting brix meters (which read sugar content) and temperature meters for wine tanks, to the Survey Egg on the wine tank, enable a vinicultural management company or contracted winemaker, to remotely monitor fermentation progress (and thereby inform punch down schedules, etc.)—one of the single most time consuming aspects of wine making. Survey Eggs can control valve attachments to automate and coordinate the timing for pumping of fermenting red wine juice back over the grape skins, as well as water flow regulation, to heat or cool the tanks.
  • [0217]
    Attaching a pressure regulator to the Survey Egg enables remote operation and control of hydraulic-powered fermentors and hydraulic-powered presses. Attaching a mass spectrometer or gas sensor to the Survey Egg enables remote and realtime monitoring of carbon dioxide levels, and thus automate venting. Attaching a spectrophotometer to the Survey Egg enables vintners to remotely and actively measure the presence of various compounds in a wine. And since, Survey Eggs have a ComCloud, data could be shared, selectively, among various winemakers, if they wish to compare their analytics to industry-wide norms. A single spectrophotometer attached to a Survey Egg, is, via CloudCast, shareable among all tanks in the entire winery.
  • Motion Control
  • [0218]
    In one or more embodiments, particularly Survey Nuts, wherein an object's position in three dimensional space, within, say, a room or building, can be established, that object can be interacted with, transacted with, or otherwise controlled or engaged via methods such as waving one's hands in the air.
  • [0219]
    Survey Nuts enable novel types of intra-spatial movement control, as well as novel types of communicating, interacting, and transacting; for example, accomplishing any of the preceding, by movements of one's hand(s) in the air, in a room with Survey Nuts in the corners and edges of that room. And Survey Nuts, in combination with multi-axis magnetometers/accelerometers enable users to engage the real world via hand/arm/foot/etc. gestures and motions.
  • [0220]
    Survey Nuts' spatial location technology enables users to interact with their physical environment in entirely new ways. Survey Nuts enable users to engage the real world via gestures/motions: guide radio-controlled vehicles; “press” an elevator button with just a flick of a finger; roll up car windows by making a U-shaped motion with a finger, while walking away from the car; control a custom version of a fast food restaurant drive-through menu display; flick content to another person or device; change the TV channel; play various in-person virtual games, such as “Pong” by, for example, users swinging their mobile handsets (or other devices) through the air as if holding a tennis racquet; or play other video games; or engage virtual or overlay environments; utilize RFID fingernail stickers to type on any surface by just moving the user's fingers without need for a physical keyboard; control a virtual heads-up display; among other use cases. In embodiments Survey Nuts utilize radio frequency identification RFID to perform 3-axes geo-spatial location.
  • Smart Parking Meters
  • [0221]
    Parking meters become smart parking meters simply by attaching a Survey Egg or Survey Nut thereto. The Survey Egg/Nut ComCloud CloudCasts information to parking users on parking hours/costs. This can be accomplished by various means including sending Tilz to the parking users' mobile devices or automobiles. Parking users can pay via via CloudCast via a variety of means, including several proprietary methods (such as iDough, Pay by Widge, and Motran). Options include a SafePay method, whereby a user's credit/debit card is charged or bank account debited, for each block of time utilized, without worry about the meter running out of time, and the user possibly receiving a parking ticket (as is the case with coin-operated “dumb” parking meters).
  • [0222]
    The cost advantages for adding a low cost Survey Egg/Nut to existing parking meters, are tremendous. Cities are paying upwards of $5,000 each for so-called smart meters. For example, Survey Eggs can be installed at the corners of the parking lot, with less expensive Survey Nuts attached to each parking meter at each parking space. In fact, parking lots could even be made “smart” with just one Survey Egg station; that users walk to (or access via Bluetooth) after they park their car. Users then enter their parking space number and payment information. Parking police are wirelessly notified if any meters go “red” (run out of time); or again, users can SafePay, if they have an approved payment modality that can be charged for each unit of time parked.
  • [0223]
    Furthermore, adding a Survey Egg/Nut to a parking meter, turns that parking meter into a revenue generating station, for both cities and parking users.
  • Sponsored Parking
  • [0224]
    Parking users can actually receive revenue by agreeing to accept ads, sent via the Survey Egg ComCloud. Any such revenue can be split with the City. Parking users can receive ads in exchange for reduced or even free parking The City can also promote, via the Survey Egg ComCloud, upcoming town events. A hair salon, for example, that is near the parking lot can advertise an “empty-chair” 25% discount—true real-time advertising. And all ads are received (or rejected) as per each user's profile. Such advertising meets a real world need: an empty salon chair that will either generate revenue that hour or not. Those skilled in the art may appreciate a plurality of uses and income generating cases, utilizing a Survey Egg ComCloud.
  • Survey Eggs on City Buses/Trains
  • [0225]
    All bus stop poles can have Survey Eggs/Nuts attached thereto. Passenger's mobile devices, for example, can receive the bus schedule, and actual bus location on a realtime map (for those buses that have a Survey Egg, or other type of location establishing device, onboard).
  • Sponsored Riding
  • [0226]
    Cities, transportation districts, bus companies, et. al. can receive additional revenue from advertisements/coupons sent to passengers in exchange for reduced or free fares. Transportation vehicles simply attach a Survey Egg to the vehicle, and the Survey Egg ComCloud, can, for example, accept ads/coupons/offers/information from businesses near a passenger's stop. Blockbuster video store, for example, may incentivize the user to go two additional stops to a location near the Blockbuster store, by paying the extra 25 cents fare. True realtime advertising, as per users' profiles.
  • Web Drops
  • [0227]
    Wireless carrier networks are both relatively slow and lacking in sufficient bandwidth for the current infrastructure to support mobile devices as the next computing platform. One or more embodiments of the Invention are conceived as a response to this deficiency by incorporating or otherwise connecting various external interfaces, wherein wireless network traffic is offloaded onto, among others but not limited to, wireline, cable TV, and fiber optic networks. The external interfaces perform signal conditioning and data format conversions to enable communication through one or both of wired or wireless networks. Such wired interfaces may be compatible with Ethernet standards and TCP/IP. Wireless interfaces may be compatible with one or more of the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802 family of wireless data communications protocols. It should be understood that other data-network interfaces compatible with other communication standards and protocols may also be utilized.
  • Offsets
  • [0228]
    If, for some reason, the Survey Eggs cannot be placed at the desired boundary points, Survey Eggs can be programmed for the appropriate amount of distance offset, and thereby located where more physically practical. Also, if, for instance, the boundary points are later challenged (such as in a court of law), the authoritative government body can decree that a location offset be programmed into the Survey Eggs, rather than having to physically move and relocate the Survey Eggs.
  • Virtual Surveys
  • [0229]
    For example, for a case involving two adjoining neighbors, Neighbor #1 is seeking approval for an addition to the house, but discovers the lot line is such that Neighbor #1 will need to seek a variance. Furthermore, if the lot line were moved just two inches into Neighbor #2's lot, then no variance would be required. If Neighbor #1 and #2 reach an agreement as to a lot line adjustment, which is then made legally binding by various local processes, the Survey Eggs denoting the prior adjoining lot corners, do not need to be moved. The expense of having a surveyor physically survey the new lot lines can be saved, in favor of having the surveyor re-set the Survey Eggs for a 2″ offset—which can be accomplished remotely, electronically, via the surveyor's computing device. The Survey Eggs then automatically re-calculate the lot lines, and transmit the new (Record of Virtual Survey) subdivision and plot map information to the appropriate government agencies.
  • Travel Monument Guides
  • [0230]
    Travel monuments could also use Survey Eggs to broadcast information about that site, for example, as follows: a traveler visits a travel monument (say a particular castle ruin in England which features an information plaque with an IP-enabled barcode on it), the traveler then scans/marks it with their mobile handset barcode scanner, which sends a short data burst to see if there are Survey Eggs nearby for that travel monument, and if so, the Survey Eggs send a brief audio and visual history for that monument to the users mobile handset. This is possible even where there is no traditional cell phone coverage (on non cellphone devices), since the data stored on the Survey Eggs can be broadcast via means such as WiFi, RFID, Bluetooth, and other means).
  • [0231]
    The Survey Egg ComCloud broadcasts (CloudCasts) the profile of that monument. The profile might include items such as: self-guided tour (audio file), self-guided tour (video file), history of the monument (text file), donations to the entity responsible for that monument's upkeep and management (payment transaction modality).
  • Emergency/Medical Alert Reporting System
  • [0232]
    Particularly for the elderly or those who live alone, the Survey Egg ComCloud can be used to transmit an emergency signal to local 911 or other emergency services personnel. Users can wear a pendant around their neck which can communicate with the Survey Egg ComCloud (while the user is within 100 meters of the ComCloud), and thereby alert family, friends, neighbors, or first responder personnel to a problem.
  • Emergency Services
  • [0233]
    Survey Egg ComCloud (or RFID or Bluetooth) enables firefighters/ambulances/police to find house numbers even in darkness and smoke.
  • Emergency Broadcast Network
  • [0234]
    Because Survey Eggs have their own battery source they can be used (with or without ComCloud) to send/receive messages during natural disasters or other emergency situations. Since the power is out during many emergencies, outdated conventional art systems, such as those that broadcast via a user's cable TV system, may be rendered useless without power.
  • [0235]
    Government agencies, at the national level, and counties at the local level, are investing in systems that allow them to send/receive information during emergencies. Currently most of their programs only allow them to send, but not receive, information. The types of messages they want to send include where to evacuate to, and day-to-day updates on such topics as transportation and sources of food and fresh water.
  • In-Car Navigation Data
  • [0236]
    The Survey Egg ComCloud (via means such as WiFi, RFID or Bluetooth) can communicate with users driving by, especially (or even limited to) FedEx or other delivery company personnel, to more conveniently find, locate, and/or determine house numbers/addresses and even the homeowner's name (if the homeowner chooses to ComCloud broadcast it). Drivers can keep their eyes on the road instead of driving while trying to spot and find particular address numbers on buildings/houses.
  • Atmospheric Research
  • [0237]
    “Up-look” multi-spectral imaging via low-spectral resolution spectrometer attachments to Survey Eggs can measure atmospheric reflectance in the wavelength region responding to solar illumination. Such data has implications, for example, vis a vis the buildup of airborne pollutants and greenhouse gases.
  • Automated Water/Gas/Electric Meter Reading
  • [0238]
    Survey Eggs can automate the reading of water, gas, and electric (and other) meters at residential and commercial properties (504). Users with Survey Eggs at the boundary points of their property, who have also set up a ComCloud can wirelessly transmit the data from the water/gas/electric meters. The water/gas/electric meter can transmit the data to the user's ComCloud via several means including Bluetooth and/or WiFi. The user can set the ComCloud range to transmit the meter reading (which data can be encrypted) to a distance such that water/gas/electric company personnel can drive or walk by and wirelessly receive and record the meter reading from the street/sidewalk. The water/gas/electric personnel can use a mobile handset or other device to receive the (encrypted) readings. Alternatively, users can have the (encrypted) meter readings continuously sent wirelessly via means such as WiFi to the water/gas/electric company's servers; via the Internet if that home, the neighbors, or a nearby mobile device has connectivity—even asynchronously.
  • [0000]
    Prevent Skiers from Getting Lost
  • [0239]
    Each year skiers die when they accidentally head off piste, especially in storm conditions. Ski resorts can install Survey Eggs at all chairlifts and resort boundary inflection (direction change) points. Ski patrol officers can then send real-time run closure information. Mobile handset users can locate themselves relative to the Survey Eggs without need for a fee-based monthly GPS service.
  • GPS Coordinates for Online Map Addresses
  • [0240]
    Survey Eggs enable maps of businesses, homes, travel monuments/sites, etc. to include the GPS coordinates—which allows for an additional type of navigation, not generally included with today's online maps. Aerial view online maps can offer the option of displaying the GPS coordinates and/or boundary lines for specific sites. GPS coordinates for commercial or residential properties can also be included in telephone directory ads/listings for (automatic) downloading into the user's mobile handset or in-car navigation system to make finding the location easier.
  • Dig Safely
  • [0241]
    During any excavation project, the property owner often has to have a company such as Dig Safe come and provide an underground utility survey done. This is done to avoid digging up or damaging underground gas, sewer, water, power or telecommunications lines/pipes. Survey Eggs could be used to mark not only the location of each pipe, and each inflection point (change of direction) but the Survey Eggs could also broadcast metadata such as the type and age of the pipe, and depth of the pipe below grade (or its absolute altimeter reading). All this data is then be assembled into an online map by the Survey Egg software for viewing on any digital device such as a mobile handset or PC. This would also allow excavation crews to walk the area with a mobile handset and quickly determine the location of any section of pipe by a plurality of means, including using the Survey Egg widget to audio-locate any Survey Egg via a series of staccato beeps which increase in frequency and pitch until they reach a steady tone when the user is standing immediately above a Survey Egg. Such underground utilities need only be marked once, with Survey Eggs, rather than during every job.
  • Improved Underground Utility Serviceability
  • [0242]
    Another problem with underground utilities is that it is hard to determine exactly where a problem is located if, say, an underground pipe breaks. The use of Survey Eggs located at pipe inflection points (where one section of pipe changes direction relative to the preceding section) can address this problem. Inexpensive flow meters, for example, could be installed in the pipe at all Survey Egg locations. The flow meter data may be broadcast (CloudCast) as part of the Survey Egg metadata—enabling service crews to readily pinpoint a potential/actual trouble spot.
  • [0243]
    Furthermore, most utilities can use such Survey Eggs to receive continuous real-time flow rate telemetry data (in many cases for the first time ever) so as to better analyze capacity usage and make better determinations as to when to perform utility pipe upgrades.
  • Online 3D Map Mashups
  • [0244]
    Online maps could display underground, ground level, and above ground data:
  • [0000]
    Underground utilities, pipes, water/sewer/gas lines, etc.;
    Ground Level railroad lines, dirt roads, sidewalks, trails, etc.;
  • [0245]
    Above Ground utility poles/lines, airway rights, etc.
  • [0246]
    In addition, online maps can display digital blueprints 195 of structures mapped via Survey Nuts (in cases where the owner chooses to make such data public). Such data enables numerous location-based services not available today.
  • [0247]
    The above examples could also all be projected onto (mashed up with) existing online maps such as 50-State maps or voting district maps, etc.
  • [0248]
    In addition Survey Eggs/Nuts can provide reference points to cameras as they take still and video images. This enables a fly-through three dimensional image or video of any building, monument, et. al. to be created from the thousands of photos taken by tourists (and others).
  • Digital Blueprints
  • [0249]
    Digital blueprints 195 or “as-built” blueprints are, per the conventional art, accomplished via very expensive equipment and involve high level mathematics to resolve the stunningly large amounts of data needed create a blueprint of an object (such as a building) that already exists. Currently engineers and surveyors use laser scanners to bounce off numerous targets placed on the structure being blueprinted. The laser is then moved and the process is repeated at this new and slightly different angle. This is done hundreds of times to achieve an accurate as-built blueprint.
  • [0250]
    Archeologists also use this technique to map ruins such as those at Tikal, an ancient Mayan city in Guatemala.
  • [0251]
    Survey Eggs and Survey Nuts can accomplish this same result (digital blueprints) with much less time and with lower cost equipment. The surveyors simply place Survey Eggs at major boundary points, and Survey Nuts at all other minor junctions that need mapping, and the Survey Egg software automatically creates a three dimensional digital blueprint 195 of the structure.
  • [0252]
    And for structures, such as suburban homes, with complete digital blueprints, the architect could “tie” a “cornerstone” of the digital blueprint to a specific cornerstone Survey Egg. This would enable other neighbors or city planning commissions to view things such as potential site lines for proposed new construction projects.
  • Shipping Container Monitors
  • [0253]
    Conventional art container monitors cost upwards of $1000 per container. Survey Eggs are much more cost effective. In addition to the normal Survey Egg functions (such as real-time GPS location monitoring) sensors can be installed in the Survey Egg to monitor everything from the container door lock, humidity and temperature to radiation and gases such as carbon dioxide.
  • [0254]
    Shipping container Survey Egg monitors enable clients to micromanage their supply chains, reduce theft and inventories, and purchase less expensive insurance. The U.S. brings in approximately $1.9 trillion of manufactured goods each year, 60% via sea. Approximately 0.3% of those shipping containers are lost to theft: an annual loss of around $3 billion that can be reduced via use of Survey Eggs. Also increased inspections, especially for containers without such sensors, is very costly: $50,000/day for a medium sized container ship. And due to heightened terrorism concerns, an increasing number of governments are mandating solutions such as shipping container monitors.
  • GPE Service
  • [0255]
    Global Positioning Egg (GPE) service can be offered as an alternative to GPS (global positioning satellite) service. GPE is lower power and lower cost. Mobile handsets and cars can utilize a network comprised of Survey Eggs, Survey Nuts, and other means such as cell phone towers, WiFi hotspots, WiFi towers, and other towers to determine their location—in preference to (expensive) satellite GPS service.
  • Gotz Dotz
  • [0256]
    Gotz Dotz uses include, but are not limited to: Identify available parking spaces in parking garages or on a street (When a car parks between Gotz Dotz that circumscribe (or other layout arrangement relative to) a parking space the car's/user's ComCloud can indicate to the Gotz Dotz that the parking space is now taken); Telemetry data services (Gotz Dotz can download and transmit telematics data from the car's computer (such as speed, engine temperature, oil pressure, tire pressure, exhaust emissions, et. al.) in realtime. Data, as per user's profiles and wishes, can be sent to entities such as the car owners or the owner's mobile device, or the car manufacturer (which might pay users for such information), or law enforcement agencies (outstanding parking tickets or lapsed insurance), or the department of motor vehicles DMV (smog information, current registration), et. al.); Free GPS (People and cars moving along a Gotz Dotz path can determine their location); Traffic report network (Cars can automatically send anonymous driving speed information to Gotz Dotz, that can be aggregated to provide realtime traffic conditions information, and sell it to online map services and news organizations); Seasonal road marking (Gotz Dotz can mark the edges of seasonal ice roads (a solution superior to the conventional art sticks with flags). Gotz Dotz can also mark the edges of highways and roads with heavy snowfall); Automated vehicle guidance (As various aspects of vehicular control are enabled by ground sensors, Gotz Dotz can interact with the car's navigation system, cruise control, automatic breaking, steering, et. al. to guide the vehicle along the Gotz Dotz marked path); People movers inside airports; Baggage trucks/carts on airport tarmacs; Conveyor belts in factories. Sensor networks (Gotz Dotz can gather/relay information (ambient temperature, carbon dioxide levels, et. al.) in support of networks of devices which can measure and/or analyze, for instance, environmental parameters).
  • [0257]
    Gotz Dotz may replace survey monuments in places where other Survey Egg embodiments might be destroyed, such as on a street, curb, or sidewalk. Gotz Dotz, like Botts' Dots, are designed to withstand being run over by vehicles. Gotz Dotz may act as permanent and accurately re-locatable survey monuments. Gotz Dotz amass location data to automatically produce subdivision plot maps that can be more accurate than some conventional art subdivision maps, and are continuously available (via online map mashup) at minimal (relative) cost. Because Gotz Dotz may automatically create online/digital plot maps, they provide impetus for resolution of differing boundary surveys—as well as a basis for updating inaccurate legal descriptions of properties. Owners of telephone poles, street light posts, cell phone towers, et. al. are beginning to geo-tag their inventory, driving demand for fixed-location sensing devices such as Gotz Dotz.
  • Survey Nuts
  • [0258]
    Inside a home Survey Nuts may CloudCast all of a user's household items. If a guest likes the kitchen appliances, cabinets, or faucet, such information Tilz may be being CloudCast. The homeowner may get paid if/when an interested party who receives those Tilz, for example, later purchases that item from that company. All the contractors/manufacturers for every time in the house, may pay the homeowner to be on the homeowner's CloudCast. Information about items is CloudCast to guest's mobile devices. Such household items might include: paintings, artwork, silverware, couches, TVs, light fixtures, clothes, literally everything that user owns has a Tilz that is part of that property's CloudCast. The homeowner may get paid for the information regarding who designed, supplied and installed their kitchen.
  • [0259]
    The present Invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the Invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims in addition to all foregoing descriptions. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims and foregoing descriptions are to be embraced within their scope.
  • The Wireless Location-Establishing Device Provides a Platform for Interactive, Customized, User-Solicited Advertisements
  • [0260]
    A system, method, service and platform for providing interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited advertisements are disclosed; which, for example, reduce unwanted ads for users and marketing expenses for advertisers. Via a plurality of means, users create profiles of the objects they utilize in their life. The resultant profile(s) is then made available by the present Invention (“Ad Widge”) to entities such as those which manufacture or sell said objects. Those entities pay the user to view the user's ad profile, whereupon said entities make a determination whether or not to pay the user again to send ads, offers or other information, as per each user's preferences and profiles.
  • [0261]
    Up until now (2002), virtually all advertising/marketing has been based upon one thing: guesses. Guesses, for instance, about who might be interested in a company's message(s). Guesses about where, when, and how best to attempt to engage with customers and potential customers.
  • [0262]
    The present Invention (hereafter “Ad Widge”), is conceived as a response to the above-described deficiencies of the conventional art. With Ad Widge, advertising/marketing shifts from “guesses” to “facts.”
  • [0263]
    Users create profiles of everything in their life. And based upon the facts in those profiles, advertisers/marketers make informed decisions, fact-informed decisions, about getting their messages (and other data) to customers and potential customers. Ad Widge's technology enables users to receive just those ads they want, and get paid to do so.
  • [0264]
    These profiles indicate not only those items the user would like ads for, but also how, when and where. Ad Widge enables a number of innovative advertising modalities including: local advertising, location-based advertising, timely advertising, contextual ads, blended ads, interest category ads, behavioral ads, affinity ads, intramedia/intrastitial ads, self-aggregating group ads, realtime competitive ads, et. al.
  • [0265]
    Further, Ad Widge, disintermediates (some) middlemen in the advertising/marketing process; putting advertisers/marketers (often the manufacturer or retailer of a product) in direct one-to-one contact with customers and potential customers. Thus, monies that erstwhile went to middlemen which created profiles of users based upon guesses, can be re-directed to users, who, via Ad Widge, create and surface their fact-based profiles directly to advertising/marketing entities, and are thereby potentially paid to receive information, ads, offers, and other data.
  • [0266]
    Via a plurality of means, users are in control of the information they receive, including ads/offers/et. al. An Ad Widge profile is a shield against information overload.
  • [0267]
    The vast majority of advertising today is unsolicited and irrelevant to the recipient. Accordingly, an improved method of advertising is desirable. Interactive, customized, user-solicited advertisements—the present Invention—enables advertisers/marketers to better target interested ad recipients. And for recipients, the avalanche of junk mail, TV and radio ads, and online advertising is reduced to a focused stream of ads for just those products and services (and other things) recipients are interested in receiving more information about.
  • [0268]
    Both advertisers and advertising recipients are losers vis a vis conventional art advertising modalities. Advertisers waste billions of dollars each year sending ads to recipients with no interest in those ads. And ad recipients are so bombarded with junk mail and all other forms of non-targeted advertising that not only is a great deal of the recipient's time wasted, but also vast quantities of natural resources (such as trees) and energy (coal for electricity, oil for U.S. Postal Service junk mail delivery, etc.) are squandered producing and delivering ads that the recipients don't want.
  • [0269]
    Advertisers waste the better part of their advertising budget delivering ads to recipients who are not interested in seeing that ad at that time. For example, if a tire company pays $100,000 for a 30-second ad during a football game, the ad might be viewed by millions of people who don't currently need tires; or are members of the family (such as children) who do not purchase their own tires. Advertisers don't want to waste corporate resources sending ads to people who don't want/need them.
  • [0270]
    As more and more Web properties continue their assault on users' privacy, more and more users will want to take control of their ad profile. And the diminishing value of the tsunami of ads flashed at users each day, cries out for fewer, more relevant ads. Too many ads=too little impact. Quantity vs quality.
  • [0271]
    Conventional art advertising technology is outdated. The “spray and pray” method, wherein companies put their ads in front of thousands or millions of people, is an outdated and spectacularly inefficient method that hopes for maybe a 1% response rate. There's minimal value to the hundreds of different ad impressions per day the average person is exposed to. And what value is there to increase that number? As more online entities ramp up their advertising, users are about to be drowned in ads. But people need fewer ads, more relevant ads. And even with fewer ads, or ads targeted at smaller groups of users—even solo individuals—Ad Widge enables content owners to profitably make their content available. For example, Ad Widge changes the economics of re-runs (and other digital content). Not just relevant ads, but ads that people actually solicit, and ads for items the users indicated they are imminently purchasing in the next few days, are valuable, orders of magnitude more valuable, as compared to the “spray and pray” cost per thousand viewers. In some cases $5 or even $25 are paid for such ads to a single user, which changes the economics of reruns and enables content owners to monetize their vast libraries in a way that makes their library potentially worth an order of magnitude more than per the conventional art advertising modalities. Attaching an ad paying more than the (10 cent) cost to stream content to a user is profit to the content provider.
  • [0272]
    There are a plurality of ad platforms, trying to monetize digital content (and other things). However, only the Ad Widge ad platform pays the user (the ad recipient). Conventional art so-called “targeted advertising” assumes that all users are poised in the starting blocks every single second of the day, just waiting to hear a keyword, at which point they launch themselves into a store to purchase that keyword item. A completely absurd assumption that informs targeted advertising schemes, which pepper users with ads each time the user says a keyword, or types it in an email, or speaks it in a phone call, etc. Further, it leads to irrelevant ads that users don't want to receive.
  • [0273]
    Ad Widge provides an unique solution to the problem of unwanted advertising. Not only does Ad Widge save advertisers money, but also “saves” users money by paying them to receive ads. Furthermore, Ad Widge enables realtime competitive ads. Instead of spraying out ads and hoping a few people respond, advertising via Ad Widge, can be directed to users who are in the act of making a purchase (or have a profile indicating a potential for such a future purchase). Advertising via Ad Widge can now be tied and tracked according to a user's expressed interests and purchase history, automatically. Users simply go about their life and Ad Widge automatically builds their profile, then helps the user monetize their profile. With Ad Widge users are the ones in charge of and being paid for the users' profiles.
  • Ads Vs Coupons
  • [0274]
    In embodiments, ads are a means of providing consumers more information about the features and benefits of various competing products/services that recipients are deciding among for a future purchase; whereas coupons are a specific financial discount for items that recipients already regularly purchase or want to purchase (and thus don't necessarily contain product features/benefits information).
  • [0275]
    The Invention is enabled by the current and forthcoming digital technologies such as the Internet, the ever more present digital radio, and the proposed digital television broadcasting. It is also enabled by ever more capable mobile handsets—which are defined vis a vis the present Invention, as cell phone-like devices, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA) or other devices/embodiments other than a personal computer (PC) or laptop, that don't necessarily require a monthly contract from a wireless carrier to be a useful device. Those skilled in the art will appreciate, however, that a user may utilize other digital devices that are similar to or different from a mobile handset, featuring wireless carrier service or not; Such devices are consistent with the principles of the Invention, and are thusly encompassed herein by inference.
  • [0276]
    Though in embodiments Ad Widge can be used by anyone with a digital device (such as a computer) and, optionally, Internet access, it is aimed primarily at users of mobile handsets—and some users will exclusively utilize their mobile handset to engage and utilize Ad Widge. Of course, other users may simply utilize other computing devices (or even televisions or other things) that are different from mobile handsets.
  • [0277]
    Before the Internet and the digital media revolution, advertising was a one-way communication. For decades, advertisers simply foisted their ads via junk mail, newspaper ads, radio ads and TV ads on millions of recipients hoping for something like 1% of the recipients to actually be interested enough in the advertisement to take action to purchase that product or service being advertised.
  • [0278]
    Increasingly so, recipients are being bombarded not only by junk mail and radio/TV advertising, but also by online advertising. And the avalanche of ads is just about to skyrocket as social network advertising (on MySpace, etc.) and mobile handset advertising emerges. Recipients will hardly be able to go for more than a few minutes of their day without being assaulted by unwanted and irrelevant ads. Additionally, users are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy, as some of a user's online actions are resulting in so-called targeted ads. And conventional art “targeted advertising” is evermore intrusive.
  • [0279]
    The conventional art Web advertising model has many flaws, and one of those flaws is just how many entities (middlemen) there are between the Website and the user. Ad placement. Websites hire outside companies to place ads on their sites and choose the ads that will make the most money. Ad buyers. Ad placement companies contact ad networks (that buy the ads) and technology companies that help advertisers bid for them. Ad targeting companies. The ad buyers reach out to other companies to track or measure their ads or for access to ad-targeting data.
  • [0280]
    All these companies can potentially collect data about users by installing cookies on a computer without the Website knowing. Thus some Websites are upset that others are profiting by selling data about the site's users for ad-targeting purposes. And of course, the users, as per the conventional art, are getting paid nothing, despite the fact that it is the users' profiles that all the others in this value chain are making money off of. Accordingly it's desirable for users to take control of, and profit from, their own profiles. And with Ad Widge, they do just that.
  • [0281]
    With Ad Widge (in embodiments), Websites interact directly with the user's profile broadcast or “ComCloud” which includes a user's ad profile. Thereby companies can see whether a user wants an ad from that company without the scrum of middlemen making expensive guesses about a user's preferences. Instead the user tells the company directly. Ad Widge's technology enables users to receive just those ads they want, and users get paid to do so.
  • [0282]
    Unfortunately other advertisers continue to deliver ads as if the Internet and digital revolution has not taken place. Some offline advertisers use information about ad recipients gathered from entry forms for contests and warranty postcards. Direct marketing companies create numerous mailing lists based on these keywords or whether someone bought from a particular catalog before. Then for the next 5-10 years users received junk mail (and other forms of ads) based upon this incomplete, out of date, and often inaccurate profile.
  • [0283]
    Feedback about the relevance/usefulness of the TV ads or junk mail was not practical—but it is today. Prior to the Internet there wasn't a cost effective way for people to build their own ad profile and communicate it directly to marketers (or today's search engines seeking to serve up ads). Yet most conventional art search engines ignore this fact, and continue to bombard users with ads based upon 50 year old marketing techniques.
  • [0284]
    The Internet, mobile handsets, digital radio, and the forthcoming digital television enable advertisers to inexpensively target individual recipients via simple, practical means. It would be preferable for users to give feedback about ad relevancy. It would be preferable for users to create their own profiles, either explicitly (by filling out profile checklists or other means) or implicitly (by means such as barcode scanning or RFID interrogation of the objects users utilize in their life—profiles which can be created while online or offline). Ads can thereby be tied to a user's expressed interests and purchase history, automatically.
  • [0285]
    It would be much better, for example, if advertisers had a list of people who actively indicated an interest in receiving, say, tire ads. Advertisers could target that much smaller subset of people who are interested in receiving tire ads, and not annoy potential future customers who don't want to receive tire ads right now. Instead of advertisers bombarding millions of recipients with millions of ads (a shotgun approach), recipients can, via the Invention, be in charge of the advertising they receive by requesting just those ads they are interested in (a rifle approach). Various technologies have now evolved to the point where it is simple and practical for advertising, for the first time, to become a two-way ongoing communication between advertiser and recipient.
  • [0286]
    Ad Widge is interactive, customized, user-solicited advertisements. When users solicit ads/information, ads can shift their focus from the marketing-driven hype of the conventional art, to becoming more effective information delivery vehicles, for users who are actively seeking information vis a vis a purchase decision (or other reason).
  • [0287]
    Interactive, customized, user-solicited advertisements enable advertisers to better target interested ad recipients. Instead of users being bombarded with random ads, users can, for instance, scan the barcodes/RFID of the items they use in their everyday life to automatically build a profile of items they could really use ads for.
  • [0288]
    As used herein in connection with the ads associated with the plurality of embodiments of the Invention, the following terms are defined as:
  • [0000]
    Interactive: users solicit and receive additional information on the item in real-time, as well as rate the relevance/usefulness of that ad to that user.
    Customized: ads appear in a format according to the user's preferences/profiles, and can offer different information and ad appearances to different users.
    User-solicited: users surface profiles of items for which ads may be desired, to various ad-issuing entities, and thereby inform ads they receive.
    Advertisements: advertisements, offers, information and/or other forms of data or content are herein encompassed by the terms “advertisements” or “ads.”
  • [0289]
    Reference herein to the word “advertisers” shall be understood to encompass advertising, marketing, and/or related entities.
  • [0290]
    The present Invention is described in one or more embodiments in the following description with references to the Figures. While the Invention is described in terms of the primary modes for achieving the Invention's objectives, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the Invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents as supported by the disclosures and drawings herein.
  • [0291]
    A primary purpose of the system, method, service and platform for providing interactive, customized, user-solicited advertising described herein is to reduce inefficiency vis a vis advertising and marketing. The disclosed system, method, service and platform also enable advertising recipients to exert control over and manage the information that is marketed or otherwise sent thereto.
  • [0292]
    Although various embodiments of the Invention extend to any system that operates in accordance with the principles described herein, one embodiment is described in the context of a Website, server software and widget (Webified mini-software application) that is collectively referred to herein as “Ad Widge.”
  • [0293]
    According to this embodiment of Ad Widge, the Website, server software and widget enable users to create lists/profiles of things they'd like to receive ads for. Users indicate via a preference profile (Web Pref) the way they'd like their ads presented (e.g. text-based details, or visually-oriented, on their mobile handset or in the postal mail, etc.) The checkmark list (or profile), among other embodiments, can be created manually or by using their mobile handset to scan barcodes (Net Dotz) of products as they use them, or scan the barcodes of items they come across in stores, on Websites, in TV ads, or other places. Product/service vendors then send users ads according to user ad profiles. In addition users may engage in social/business networking with other users via profiles, blogs, chat rooms, and message boards.
  • [0294]
    In embodiments Ad Widge is a software widget that resides on various digital devices (particularly mobile handsets), and enables stores, merchants, service providers, etc. to send ads to a user's digital device, based upon the desired-ad profile set up by the user. Via a plurality of means, including the Ad Widge Website and/or directly on the users' digital device via the Invention's widget (downloadable Webified mini software application), users create a profile of the advertising they would like to receive. Advertisers can, if the user's profile allows, view the profile of items for which the user would like to receive ads. Advertisers then deliver the ads to the users (customized) as per the user's ad profile.
  • [0295]
    This profile indicates not only those items the user would like to receive ads for (e.g. tennis gear, car tires, organic breakfast cereals, etc.) but also how, when, and where the user would like to receive the information. For example a text message on the user's mobile handset, or a 3 minute detailed ad on the user's TV between 6 and 8 PM, or a brochure mailed to the user's home, etc.
  • [0296]
    Via their Ad Widge profile users may also elect to allow ads from competitors of products in their Ad Profile—competitors pay the user for the right to try to entice them to switch products (in embodiments via modalities such as realtime bidding). After all it is the users time and money that is sought: The user's time, to review the info/ads/offers/etc.; and ultimately it is the user's money that is sought by the advertiser/marketer (often to purchase the advertiser's/marketer's product/service).
  • [0297]
    Advertisers/marketers already pay, to get their ads/ads/information/et. al. to users—they pay middlemen such as search engines, Internet tracking companies, and/or market research firms, etc. With Ad Widge, users and potential users make their interest in more information about a product known via their profile broadcast, without need for middlemen to guess which users might be interested in an advertiser's ads/offers/information/et. al. Thus advertisers can save those monies paid to get their messaging to users who weren't interested in receiving it, and further redirect monies that were paid to middlemen to guess which users want which ads/offers/information/et. al.; instead, potentially paying fees to users directly, in exchange for the value the user provided in surfacing their profile.
  • [0298]
    In those instances where payments are non-zero, users can further control the amount of ads/offers/information/et. al. they receive, by setting a minimum fee to receive, read and review the ads/offers/information/et. al. That is to say, the senders of such material must pay the user an amount equal to or exceeding the user's minimum fee to even send the user such material.
  • [0299]
    FIG. 14 illustrates one of the Invention's most important principles: profiles=currency. Ad Widge simplifies and automates the process whereby users create, manage and monetize their profiles. And these profiles have value. There are many companies, for instance, which would pay, literally, to view a user's profiles 1302.
  • [0300]
    Consider a case where all users create and broadcast all their profiles 1302 to all the appropriate entities at all times. Then, for example, the local movie theater could simply view the movie profiles 1305 of all movie goers in say a 20 mile radius of the movie theater, when making decisions such as which movies to acquire the rights to show in their theater. Such profile-based, fact-based decision making is far superior to the so-called analytics programs which harvest vast amounts of information, and apply complex algorithms, in the hopes of teasing out a few valuable (accurate) nuggets of information. And ad-sending entities pay a great deal of money for such information, weak though it may be, gleaned via such means.
  • [0301]
    That's why user's fact-based profiles are so valuable to so many entities. In practice, for example, a user reading the Sunday paper, and scanning an ad for a movie they'd like to see may get paid 1022, via Ad Widge, almost instantaneously by entities 1107 such as those that can provide the movie to the user 1108-1113 and ads/offers/information/et. al. related thereto. Scan the ad, and shortly thereafter, the user gets paid. Perhaps only a few pennies (or even fractions thereof) in some embodiments, but the tectonic shift in the advertising landscape may be appreciated by those skilled in the art.
  • [0302]
    Users create a profile of ads they are willing to receive, primarily through barcode/RFID scanning of products they utilize (as well as by other means). Alternatively users can indicate they are willing to let any entity send an ad-on any subject—if the sender pays the user (a minimum price set by the user). Each user can set their own prices to receive ads. Users also decide if they want to get paid by advertisers or market research firms (or other entities) to view the user's Ad Widge profile. Cumulative totals and/or frequency of various items purchased is valuable information that the user's profile contains. And beyond just frequency information, there is specific purchase information. For example, a user's profile might indicate a user purchased grated Parmesan cheese 18 times in the past year. But beyond that is much more granular information such as: What sizes of bags (8 ounce or jumbo 32 ounce)? Which brands? Re-sealable pouches or vacuum packed bags? Which stores were they purchased at? What payment modalities were utilized? et. al. The user gets paid by market research companies and manufacturers (and other entities) to view the user's Ad Widge profile which contains such valuable detailed information.
  • [0303]
    The Invention's interests are aligned with users. Ad Widge only gets paid, when users get paid 1403, 1404. Unlike traditional companies, such as leading search companies, which in many cases get paid, even when neither party to a transaction (buyer and seller) are happy with the value received. Traditional middlemen, such as leading search companies, add to the cost of goods (collecting, say, $30 on “refrigerator” searches, during the 10 years a user owns a fridge, happens to do searches on fridges, but isn't at the time in the market for a refrigerator). Ultimately, search companies drives up users' costs twice: 1) the cost of goods that the user eventually pays for is $30 higher; and 2) privacy costs, as entities such as leading search companies spy on users, to obtain the data used as fodder for their algorithmic guesses as to what a user might actually be in the market for.
  • [0304]
    An unique advantage of Ad Widge is that ads/offers/information/et. al. sent to users are based upon the best, most accurate and most comprehensive profiles available—those maintained by the users themselves. Any profile created by a third party is inferior to a user-created and managed profile; because, ipso facto, the only witness, for example, to every single movie a user consumes, by any and all modalities, is the user himself. If a user's movie profile is maintained by a third party such as the user's television service provider, the television service provider only bears witness to those movies the user consumes via the television service provider. Therefore, anytime the user consumes a movie, not via the user's television service provider, the television service provider's movie profile for that user becomes a bit less accurate, a bit less comprehensive and therefore a bit less valuable.
  • [0305]
    The same is true for other third parties which base their advertising systems upon profiles that third parties create of users; such third party profiles are less accurate, less comprehensive and less valuable, than profiles created by users themselves. This is a crucial point: all other forms of advertising prior to the present Invention, rely in some form or another on third party profiles of users. Thus all prior forms of advertising are inferior to Ad Widge's system and method wherein users create, and manage, and monetize their profiles.
  • [0306]
    Therefore in preference to flooding recipients with a plethora of ads, which are often of interest to only a tiny fraction of recipients, users create profiles of everything that matters to them. Said profiles are selectively, as per users' preferences, surfaced to ad-sending entities by Ad Widge. Ad-sending entities (may) pay the user to review the relevant profiles, and thereby determine if they wish to send ads/offers/information/et. al. to the user, and if so, ad-sending entities (may) pay the user again for the user's time to review same.
  • [0307]
    Ad-sending entities can, likewise, create profiles of their own via Ad Widge (or otherwise). For instance, their profile might be of each of the products they manufacture, stores that retail those products, and entities that perform repairs, technical support and/or related services for said products. Once these profiles are created, ad-sending entities can engage the Invention service which automatically matches their product profiles with those users seeking more information, possibly including ads, about that same, or similar, product.
  • [0308]
    Once a profile match has been effected, ad-sending entities then review, either manually with live personnel, or via a computer-based system which might employ various algorithmic facilities, a user's preference profile which includes preferences as to how, when and where a user would like to receive any ads/offers/information/et. al. and a fee schedule detailing the minimum prices (which might be zero) a user is willing to accept, to receive said ads/offers/information/et. al.
  • [0309]
    If the ad-sending entity determines it is advantageous to proceed, ads/offers/information/et. al. are delivered by the company itself, third parties, or via Ad Widge.
  • [0310]
    In embodiments, Ad Widge ads are delivered via Tilz (data tiles), which are transactable objects, and therefore enable users to purchase directly from the ads, even offline ads. For offline ads, users scan the (Net Dotz Internet protocol IP) barcodes, which, in embodiments, results in a Tilz being downloaded to the user's mobile device. The Tilz is a transactable object which enables the user to make purchases therefrom. The user's Ad Widge profile includes user-selectable options, such as the ability for users to choose to allow ads from competing products. For example, if a user utilizes Tide detergent, then the user has the Tide Tilz in their Ad Widge profile. If they allow ads from competing products, such as in this case Cheer detergent, then Cheer detergent is allowed to pay the user to send ads. Competitors pay the user for the right to entice them to switch products.
  • [0311]
    Ad Widge is simple to use for product and service providers. In embodiments, they just post all forms and variations of their advertising, and Ad Widge pulls the appropriate Tilz to each user. So for instance, Ad Widge can facilitate the placement or population of the ads (Tilz) the user sees when watching TV, or in their (digital) newspaper or magazine (or other).
  • [0312]
    The Invention employs and incorporates many unique technologies, such as the ability to purchase a product/item directly from an ad—even offline ads—and facilitate realtime acutions for ads/offers/information/etc. regarding competitive products while the user is in the act of shopping (such as at a bricks and mortar store or while shopping online), as per the detailed descriptions below.
  • [0313]
    Having generally described operation of the systems and methods for profile based advertising, various embodiments will be described with respect to FIGS. 10-19. Referring to the accompanying drawings wherein the same reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements:
  • [0314]
    FIG. 10 shows an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of an interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited advertisements system, method, service, and platform in accordance with the Invention which is designated generally as system 1000.
  • [0315]
    System 1000, hereafter “Ad Widge,” represents an embodiment of the system, method, service and platform by which a user creates profiles of things, which in turn inform the advertising, offers, information and other data the user receives regarding same. The nucleus of the Ad Widge platform centers around client and server software 1014, but which more generally consists of a plurality of computer applications, devices, components, facilities, and systems, as well as a plurality of data facilities, including various data sources and data acquisition facilities. The foregoing may be centrally located or geographically dispersed, may be locally and/or remotely interconnected, and may consist of distinct components or be integrated into combined systems. In the illustrated embodiment, the Ad Widge platform 1000 architecture facilitates the processing of user-initiated queries entered into a query entry system functioning in conjunction, for example, with a barcode reading facility 1003 on the user's 1001 mobile device 1002. The mobile device may process the results of this query locally via client software, or transmit the results of this query to a remote server software system 1014 for further processing and/or routing to data sources and/or processing facilities, such as one or more servers, such as HTTP servers or other servers that are suitable for handling data that are transmitted over computer networks.
  • [0316]
    In embodiments, a plurality of profile acquisition facilities are available including barcode scanning facility 1003 (which may include a laser-based barcode scanner or other barcode scanning means), RFID interrogator facility 1004, network or Internet-based facilities 1005, peer-to-peer facilities 1006, among other profile acquisition modalities 1007. Profiles consist of tiles (or other units) of data about things, hereafter “tiles” or its homonym “Tilz.” The user 1001 acquires a Tilz about something, such as a product (it is understood that the Invention applies not just to products, but also to people, animate and inanimate objects, ideas, et. al.), by one or more of the aforementioned facilities/modalities. Via a vis scanning the barcode 1003 of the product or interrogating the RFID 1004 tag of a product, a Tilz may be returned directly, or indirectly via means wherein the query returns the Internet Protocol (IP) address where more information, the Tilz, may be found for that product. (Other Invention embodiments not involving barcode/RFID facilities are conceived wherein the same or similar data gathering and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites or other means.) Users may also acquire Tilz via network or inter-network (Internet) 1005 means, such as pointing a browser to the Webpage wherefrom Tilz for that product may be downloaded or otherwise acquired. Additionally, users may also acquire Tilz for the product via peer-to-peer 1006 means, such as via Bluetooth from, for example, another user who already has the desired Tilz for that product, say on their mobile device. Other peer-to-peer embodiments such as, but not limited to, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions, facilitated by any number of communication modalities, may be utilized to acquire a Tilz about a particular product. Other modalities 1007 are contemplated, consistent with the principles of the Invention. And further, other embodiments not involving Tilz are conceived wherein the same or similar data tracking and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites (or other means).
  • [0317]
    Once a user has acquired 1002 one or more Tilz about an object, the resultant Tilz, which is the profile of that object, is presented to the Invention's client and/or server software, for sorting into profiles 1008, which consist of logical groups and/or subgroups of one or more Tilz. FIG. 10 illustrates several sample user profiles including the user's movie profile 1009, wine profile 1010, travel profile 1011, groceries profile 1012, and other profiles 1013.
  • [0318]
    A user's profiles 1008, are then presented to the Ad Widge client/server software 1014 which in embodiments may include profile matching algorithm facilities 1015, user profile database/storage facilities 1016, ad profile creation facilities 1017, ad profile management facilities 1018, ad serving/provisioning facilities 1019, ad storage facilities 1020, transaction facilities 1021, payment facilities 1022, security facilities 1023, internal rules facilities 1024, external rules facilities 1025, analytics facilities 1026 and/or other facilities. One or more of the foregoing facilities then processes the incoming/active profile, by a variety of means not limited to extracting keywords and metadata from the constituent Tilz containing that object's profile.
  • [0319]
    For each profile 1008 submitted to Ad Widge, the user makes selections (or chooses to accept automatic defaults or system 1000 generated recommendations) regarding what types of data the user would like to receive, or not receive, vis a vis that profile. Granularity of data control extends to the individual Tilz within a profile. Additional choices regarding data reception control include, but are not limited to how, when and where users receive information about the product. (Incoming information about a product is hereinafter assumed to be received via data tiles or Tilz.) The types of data a user may wish to receive regarding a product include but are not limited to ads, offers, information, or other data/content.
  • [0320]
    For example, a user who just bought 50 items at a grocery store may scan the barcode at the bottom of the user's receipt, and thereby automatically receive a Tilz for each and every item they purchased. These grocery item Tilz may then be sorted into the user's groceries profile 1012. If the user only eats Wheaties cereal, the user may elect to block, REJECT, any incoming cereal ads (which might annoy the user, who only purchases and eats Wheaties). However, a user who is a buyer of Minute Maid orange juice, and is open to receiving orange juice information may therefore set their Ad Widge preference profile regarding orange juice ads to ACCEPT.
  • [0321]
    Users may fine tune, set the granularity of, or otherwise adjust Accept/Reject criteria via the internal rules facility 1024 or other facilities. Internal rules 1024 (such as those set by the user) and external rules 1025 (such as those set by wireless carriers, and/or other third parties) are applied to user's profiles and affect various aspects of ad delivery and presentation. Examples of rules that can be set manually (by the user) or automatically (by Ad Widge's algorithm facilities 1015) include: 1) How, when, where to receive ads (for instance certain types of ads should be delivered to a user's TV from 7-9 PM on weeknights, other types of ads are to be delivered via car radio while the user is driving home from work; and still other ads are to be delivered to the user's handset at any time); and 2) Ad reminders: 36 months from now start tire ads. Ad Widge can log the date the user purchased/installed new tires, and, if the user wishes, blocks tire ads until the user is likely to be in the market again for tires. Conventional targeted advertising fails miserably in this regard: if a user purchases new tires today, then that user doesn't need to see tire ads for, say, 3 years or 36,000 miles. And though the user isn't in the market for tires, that user may in fact use the word “tires” in the meantime, say in an email. Yet a conventional “targeted” advertising approach would likely serve that user tire-related ads (wasting the user's time, and the advertiser's money) during those 3 years.
  • [0322]
    Once one or more profiles has been processed, Ad Widge 1014 makes one or more profiles available to select entities 1028 via a user profile broadcast 1027, hereafter “ComCloud” aka “commerce communications cloud” (or other means). A user's ComCloud may be broadcast by a plurality of modalities including Bluetooth, WiFi, wireless carrier network, Internet, infrared (IrDA), and/or other available means. For example, a user walking downtown along the sidewalk, may choose to have Ad Widge broadcast the user's ComCloud (such a broadcast is referred to herein as a “CloudCast”) via Bluetooth in such a manner that Ad Widge acts as a shield against information overload; a number of businesses along the user's path, may wish to send ads via WiFi to the user's mobile handset, however Ad Widge can block the undesired ads, and accept just those the user wishes.
  • [0323]
    In embodiments, Ad Widge matches the profiles of various entities 1028, against the user's profiles 1016, seeking matches for content (info/ads/et. al.) desired by the user against content available by the entity. Such entities may include, manufacturing entities 1029 (such as the manufacturer of Minute Maid orange juice), retail entities 1030 (such as grocery stores), advertising/marketing entities 1031 (such as ad buying agencies or market research firms), other users 1032 (who may, for example, share a similar profile), and/or other entities 1033 (who may, for example, share a similar profile).
  • [0324]
    In other embodiments, where entity profiles are not made directly available to Ad Widge, Ad Widge searches other sources such as existing online profiles/data, and performs (profile) matching against same.
  • [0325]
    Once one or more matches has been established, Ad Widge, as per the user's profile preferences, makes the user's profile available to the selected entity, for free or for a fee 1022 (which the user receives a portion of). Based upon the user's profile, the entity then decides whether or not to pay 1022 to send the user ads/offers/information/et. al. as per the user's preference profile. If the payment amount is non-zero, the user receives a portion of said monies.
  • [0326]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that entities already pay to get their ads/information to users; they pay middlemen entities, which make guesses as to which users might be interested in that entity's ads. Middlemen currently peddle profiles based upon guesses (often obtained by spying on users' online activities), and those guess-based profiles are sufficiently valuable that ad-sending entities pay middlemen to acquire such guess-based profiles. With Ad Widge, guesses about what users want/need are replaced by facts, from users, who create, manage and monetize their own profiles—automatically via Ad Widge. With Ad Widge, ad-sending entities no longer need to guess which customers and potential customers to reach and how to reach them. And since customers and potential customers instead manifest their profiles directly, via Ad Widge, to such entities, middlemen may be disintermediated. Thus, in a logical value-for-value transaction, users are paid for the inherent value of their profiles, which because they are based-upon actual products/services a user actually utilizes, are more accurate, and thus more valuable, than the guess-based profiles from middlemen common to the conventional art.
  • [0327]
    For example, the orange juice user might (be paid to) receive an ad from Minute Maid, which thereby hopes to convince the user to stay loyal to Minute Maid. However, if the user sets their Ad Widge preferences 1018 to accept ads/offers/information/et. al. 1019 from competing entities, the user might be paid 1022 to receive an ad from a Minute Maid competitor, such as Florida's Best orange juice, which thereupon presents information in their ad endeavoring to cause the user to switch brands.
  • [0328]
    Users 1001, via Ad Widge 1014, interact with ad-sending entities 1028 via their profile broadcast 1027. Examining the user's profile 1016 enables ad-sending entities 1028 to customize the ads. And ad-sending entities send ads 1019 to users who solicit same vis a vis their Ad Widge profile preferences 1018. Hence the present Invention: interactive, customized, user-solicited advertisements 1000.
  • [0329]
    FIG. 11 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein a user 1101 scans 1103 a movie ad in a newspaper 1117, whereupon the user's movie profile 1105 is updated, and thereby the movie-providing entities 1107 send ads, offers, and information 1114 per the user's profile 1115. For example, a user 1101 reading the Sunday newspaper is looking through the movie section and comes upon an ad 1117 for a movie the user wants to see “The Godfather.” In embodiments the user 1101 utilizes the user's mobile handset 1102 to scan the IP-based barcode on the ad 1117 for “The Godfather.” The IP-barcode includes the IP address where more information about the movie “The Godfather” can be found, and returns that information to the user's Ad Widge in the form of a data tile (a Tilz). This Tilz may include information such as theater times near the user, prices for DVDs in various store near the user, dates when the this movie will be available on a premium channel such as HBO, et. al. The Tilz users receive are customized based upon the profile of the person scanning the ad.
  • [0330]
    In embodiments the Ad Widge algorithm facility 1015 may process the received Tilz by heuristic methods that utilize information within the metadata appurtenant to the Tilz. The algorithm facility 1015 may then promote or demote individual elements comprising the user's list of names of profiles, in order to proffer to the user the name of the suggested profile to place “The Godfather” Tilz in. After receiving the user's query response, which might include the user choosing a profile other than the one suggested by Ad Widge, or manually creating a new profile category, “The Godfather” Tilz is sorted 1104 into the desired profile, the user's movie profile 1105. Ad Widge then presents 1107 the user's movie profile 1105, 1201 to appropriate entities 1108, 1109, 1110, 1111, 1112, 1113, such as those entities which can supply the user the movie “The Godfather.” Said entities then review the user's movie profile to determine if they would like to interact/transact with the user—a purported movie goer. For those entities 1108, 1109, 1110, 1111, 1112, 1113 that determine that the user 1101 is a party to whom they wish to advertise (or otherwise interact with or send information, et. al. to), those entities then send ads, offers, information, et. al 1114 as per the user's profile 1115.
  • [0331]
    For example, the first place a user can usually experience a particular movie is in the theater, so movie theaters 1108 near the user, which are playing the movie the user wants to see, might pay the user to send an ad touting that theater's high-end audio systems. Or another theater might make the user the following offer: purchase a movie ticket, and for just $7 more, the user can receive a digital download (the DVD Tilz) of the movie they are watching, while they are watching the movie, via Bluetooth or other means to the user's mobile handset. The next place a user can usually consume a movie is on pay-per-view. Pay-per-view may be offered by the user's television service provider, which can make a customized offer to the user to watch the movie. Next stores near the user that sell DVDs 1110 may wish to send ads to this movie going user, to entice the user to come in and purchase the DVD in their store—which enticement may be sweetened by a customized offer. Next online stores that sell DVDs 1111 may make offers to the user. Next premium channels such as HBO may make offers to the user; followed by other entities that can provide the movie desired by the user may wish to send ads/offers/information/et. al. to the user.
  • [0332]
    It should be noted that a user's profile 1105 may include a preference for accepting ads/offers/information/et. al. from related parties—in this case, say from food vendors, for delicious snacks and/or refreshing beverages that the user may wish to enjoy while watching the movie.
  • [0333]
    Finally, the Tilz that users receive are transactable objects, and thus users can make purchases directly from ads, even offline ads. In embodiments, users scan an offline ad 1117 in a newspaper, and receive the Tilz for that product. That data tile (Tilz) may include profile-based links to one or more Websites where the user can purchase the product. Alternatively, the Tilz itself may include the ability to purchase the product. This functionality may be informed by the use of third party servers or Websites. Such use however, may not be apparent to the user as per the Ad Widge graphical user interface, in order to provide a more user-friendly streamlined shopping experience. Order fulfillment may be effected by interface to, for instance, the product manufacturer/distributor/retailer's e-commerce Website (or other order fulfilling entity or process).
  • [0334]
    FIG. 12 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example user profile 1201, wherein the movie profile is informed by a data tile (Tilz) for every movie the user has already seen 1202, in addition to a tile for each movie the user would like to see in the future 1203; as combined with optional location 1206 and score 1207 data.
  • [0335]
    In embodiments users receive a tile/Tilz each time they consume a movie and thereby their movie profile is automatically built. The Tilz contains a profile of that movie watching experience. No matter whether a user sees a movie in the theater 1108, buys the DVD 1109, 1110, watches it on pay-per-view 1109, a premium channel (such as HBO) 1112, or on a “free” channel, the user receives a Tilz. For example, if a user goes to see a movie in the theater, they may receive the Tilz 1204 as their receipt for purchasing the ticket. In addition, the Tilz profile of the user's movie watching experience might include information such as the name of the movie watched; the theater name/address where the user consumed the movie; the movie showing time; ticket price; paid with credit card xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-1234; items purchased at the snack bar; games played in the lobby; movie rating by the user; et. al. Alternative embodiments not involving Tilz are conceived wherein the same or similar data tracking and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites.
  • [0336]
    In embodiments a user's Movies Already Seen profile 1202 is built-up automatically over time, or users can choose to manually (or via other means) build/supplant their movie profile Similarly, a user's Movies Not Yet Seen profile 1203 is automatically built-up over time via a plurality of means, including but not limited to scanning the barcodes of ads in the periodicals/newspapers/et. al.; digitally marking an ad the user hears on the radio or sees on TV; and/or recommendation by a friend or colleague; for movies the user hasn't yet seen, but wants to. In each case the user receives the Tilz for the movie, which Ad Widge then sorts 1104 into the user's movie profile 1201.
  • [0337]
    Users may choose to include location information 1206 in their movie profile, such as the zip code in which the user wishes to consume that particular movie (location preference, can be per profile as a whole, or per individual Tilz). This information is vital to potential ad-sending entities. For example, only those movie theaters near where the user wishes to consume the movie, would likely be interested in paying the user to send the user ads/offers/info/et. al. related to same.
  • [0338]
    In embodiments where ad-sending entities pay users to send ads to the user, the user must prove to the satisfaction of the ad-sending entity that the user (as per FIG. 12) is a legitimate movie-going user, whose expected future stream of movie-related expenditures 1203 are sufficient to warrant paying the user in the hopes of enticing that user to become a customer of the ad-sending entity. An additional tool ad-sending entities may wish to avail themselves of is the user's Web Cred score 1207. Similar in concept to a user's credit report FICO score, a Web Cred score is a numerical expression of a user's Web credibility; that is to say, a computed figure that examines factors such as the relationship between the number of information requests versus purchases for a given product. And in the same way that a FICO score informs a credit card company's decision to issue a person a credit card or not, an ad-sending entity can choose to factor a user's Web Cred score in, when deciding whether or not to pay to send ads to a given user.
  • [0339]
    FIG. 13 is a functional block diagram illustrating a depiction of a user's advertising profile 1301, and the constituent elements therein 1302; in addition to a depiction of an embodiment of a simple schematic illustrating the functional relationships between the user 1311 and the product and service providers 1316 who wish to advertise 1315 to the user, and highlights the role that the Invention's client-side ad profile matching facility 1313 plays in the process; in this case via the user's mobile handset 1312.
  • [0340]
    Ad Widge is a real world ad platform. Life takes place in the real world, via, for instance, interaction with the real world objects a person actually utilizes in their life. To that end, the Ad Widge platform is accessible by devices such as mobile handsets 1303, which, pending a compelling blend of hardware/services, may emerge as the next primary computing platform, and represent the first computing platform which a user might have on their person during their every waking hour. A user's profiles can live on the user's devices, not just on the Internet or other servers. Thus, the Ad Widge client-side software, which resides on the user's digital device of choice, enables users to create profiles 1302 as well as broadcast (CloudCast) profiles 1304 therefrom. Such profiles may include things such as: Profiles of the items they want to buy; Profiles of the types of people they want to date; Profiles of their appliances, which at some point will inevitably need replacing/repair; Profiles of those items they are performing searches for; And so on. With the Mobi Platform, users interact with the profiles of others, objects, entities to get what they want/need, with far less time and effort.
  • [0341]
    In embodiments users CloudCast their Ad Widge profile 1304 directly from their mobile handset 1303 via means such as Bluetooth, or peer-to-peer via various means (such as infrared IrDA), wireless carrier network, or other means (such as via the Internet). Thus as the user moves about in their real life, they can be constantly adding to and updating the profiles 1302 vis a vis the things they utilize in their life, and thereby constantly benefit by this realtime profile. Via Ad Widge users essentially carry around their wants and needs (in the form of profiles), and have their wants and needs met, with far less effort than as per the conventional art.
  • [0342]
    Even if a user's profiles 1302 are created and hosted locally, for instance on a user's mobile handset 1312, users can also have their profiles stored and matched via (and broadcast from) a remote server (or other device) via the Internet 1314 (or other means). User profiles can even be stored and matched on a user's PC or TV (and broadcast therefrom via a plurality of communication modalities). Multi-nodal profile synchronization can be performed manually by the user or automatically by Ad Widge as per various rules 1024, 1025.
  • [0343]
    Companies (product and service providers 1316, including product manufacturers and retailers, as well as various ad/marketing entities) can view user profiles 1302 and make decisions manually, or companies can create and surface their own profiles, optionally utilizing Ad Widge, and have their profiles automatically matched in realtime 1313 with other entities/objects/people/companies/et. al. with whom they might want to share/exchange/deliver ads/offers/information/et. al. 1315. A user's profile 1301, is matched with profiles of various companies, entities, objects, et. al. 1316 and can receive information/ads/offers/et. al. from same. Ad Widge surfaces, for example, the user's movie profile 1305 to appropriate entities 1316, such as those entities that can supply the movie to this user. Appropriate entities may also, or alternatively, subscribe to a user's profile and thereby receive realtime or asynchronous updates for free or for a fee (as opposed to being notified manually by Ad Widge, or being notified manually of a profile match from a prospective customer for a product/service that entity provides). Appropriate entities may subscribe to a user's entire profile 1302, or just selected elements, such as a user's clothing profile 1309.
  • [0344]
    Other embodiments of various interaction modalities between ad senders and ad receivers pursuant to the principles of the Invention are also envisioned.
  • [0345]
    FIG. 14 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of example process steps followed by advertisers 1405 as they first pay 1403 a user 1401 to view and review a user's profile 1301, to thereby determine if it's advantageous to pay 1404 to send the user ads 1412; and further consider paying additional monies 1404 for priority data placement 1413 (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user is paid; as opposed to paying a middleman/search entity).
  • [0346]
    In embodiments, via Ad Widge, the user's profiles 1301 created as per FIG. 10, are made available to advertisers, who pay 1405 the user 1401 for the rights to examine and evaluate 1406 said profiles. Advertisers may pay the user a one time fee, for access to the user's profiles for a fixed amount of time, or may subscribe to the user's profiles as per a fixed or ongoing periodical fee structure. Based upon the profile information, advertisers then decide 1407 if it is advantageous to pay the user to send ads to said user. If not 1408, then advertisers may offer to send ads for free. Users may interact with advertisers directly or let Ad Widge negotiate 1411 on behalf of the user. In this case Ad Widge sets flag to ACCEPT for the subject ads if the user has set their preference profile MIN_CHARGE (minimum charge) to zero. If not the subject ads profile flag is set to REJECT.
  • [0347]
    In the case where the advertiser considers it advantageous to send this user ads, which sets a transaction flag to PROCEED, Ad Widge then presents the advertiser with the user's MIN_CHARGE fee. For any given profile, vis a vis setting the MIN_CHARGE, users may set the fee manually or let Ad Widge set the fee. Ad Widge may set the fee based upon a plurality of factors, including but not limited to comparing MIN_CHARGE fees for other users with a profile similar to the subject user, for the same or similar products (which may be derived by, among other means, matching product metadata tags).
  • [0348]
    At this point 1409, the advertiser is either willing or unwilling to meet the user's MIN_CHARGE. If so, the transaction flag is set to PROCEED, and the advertiser pays the user to send ads 1412. If not, the advertiser may negotiate 1410 with the user, via Ad Widge 1411, a lower price to PROCEED. Again, the user may either manually accept this lower price (in response to a query from Ad Widge) or allow Ad Widge to negotiate on behalf of the user, as per the above description. If no agreement on price is reached the transaction flag is set to STOP, and after providing both parties a receipt for the failed transaction, the transaction flag is set to END. The transaction receipt detail includes information regarding the profile in question, and the amounts one or both parties was willing to pay/accept for review of same, including the DIFF difference amount that caused the transaction to END.
  • [0349]
    For those situations where an ad-sending entity is offering an amount less than the user is willing to accept Ad Widge may negotiate 1411 on the user's behalf if the user has set a DIFF percentage, by which means Ad Widge may accept/reject a proposed profile review fee from an advertiser; for example, a user may set a MIN_CHARGE of X monetary units/credits, but set a DIFF percentage of 10%, enabling Ad Widge to accept a bid of 0.9X, or more, monetary units/credits. (Other embodiments are envisioned wherein ParaSites negotiates on a user's behalf without necessarily setting a DIFF percentage).
  • [0350]
    Understanding that a user may receive several ads from several different ad-sending entities, an advertiser may wish to promote its ad to the top of the stack. In which case the advertiser pays the user a premium fee to the user for priority data placement 1413. The process for setting and agreeing to the priority data placement fee can be effected via a number of modalities consistent with the principles of the Invention, including an auction. In the case of an auction, in embodiments, Ad Widge presents each of the ad-sending entities a dataset, which details the order in which Ad Widge will be presenting the ads to the user. Ad Widge informs the ad-sending entities that Ad Widge is accepting bids, consisting of additional monetary units/credits, for top priority vis a vis the ordered list detailing the order in which Ad Widge will present the ads to the user. After receiving all the bids (for which a TIME_LIMIT may be set), Ad Widge re-sets the priority order in which the ads are presented to the user according the #1 position to the highest bidder, the #2 position to the second highest bidder, and so on. Equal bid amounts are ordered as per various factors including according higher priority to bids received before other bids.
  • [0351]
    In embodiments, if and when a fee amount is accepted both by parties, for any of the above described or other cases, payment is effected by the payment facility 1022, 1403, 1404, with Ad Widge 1402 receiving a portion of the monies/credits. (Ad Widge only gets paid, when users get paid). Payments start at zero. Only when a user proves to the satisfaction of the ad-sending entity, does the user 1401 receive a non-zero payment amount.
  • [0352]
    FIG. 15 is an illustrative example of an embodiment of the profile creation process depicting one of a plurality of profile creation and management user interface screens 1501; in this case, manual profile creation via checklists 1502 or barcode scanning 1506 (as opposed to the Invention's automatic profile creation facilities).
  • [0353]
    Users can opt to manually create a profile 1505 of those items 1503, 1504 they would like to receive ads for 1508. Alternatively users can use barcode/RFID scanning 1506, or a plurality of other means to have any items, including the items they purchase every day, or have in their home, or see in other ads, etc. manually or automatically added to their Ad Widge profile 1016.
  • [0354]
    In embodiments manually adding an item to a user's profile 1008 may also be effected by downloading the data tile (Tilz) for a product from the Internet 1005, then dragging that data tile into the appropriate profile on the Ad Widge 1014 software screen. Alternatively, automatic additions to a user's profile may be effected by means such as a digital video recorder (DVR) or set top box that is able to send the data tile (Tilz) for a television program to the user's profile broadcast (ComCloud) 1027, when the user finishes watching said program.
  • [0355]
    Once a profile is created a user may also manually edit the profile 1507, in order to effect changes thereto.
  • [0356]
    FIG. 16 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example user interface screen 1601, wherein the value of information in a profile is measured (among other factors) by how current, how fresh 1602, the information is.
  • [0357]
    For example, a user who is interested in buying a new pair of running shoes 1604, scans the barcode of a pair in a store. The data tile (Tilz) is added to the users clothing profile 1309. Ad Widge notes the date, for instance, that the Tilz was added to the clothing profile. When advertisers later view and evaluate a user's clothing profile, they can thereby take into account how recently a user indicated an interest in running shoes, when deciding if to send the user ads, and additionally how much to pay a user to effect same. Generally speaking, advertisers want to strike while the iron is hot, and thus might accord the greatest value to a profile Tilz that was just added, under the assumption that the user is currently actively interested in (this case) buying running shoes. By contrast, if a user indicated an interest in buying running shoes six months ago, advertisers might be less interested in paying the user very much money, as they might assume the user has lost interest in buying same. To that end, in embodiments the Ad Widge user interface screen 1601, includes a “freshness” indicator 1602, indicating for each Tilz how long ago that Tilz was added to the subject profile. The freshness indicator 1602 may include a plurality of user selectable time units 1603 including: seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc.
  • [0358]
    User, however, can manually set their interest level 1605, despite for instance, a long product search. For example, if a user is interested in buying running shoes, but is a picky shopper, that user might still be actively interested in buying running shoes, even if, according to the freshness indicator 1602, the Tilz was added months ago. In that case, the user can indicate to potential advertisers (including shoe providing entities) that the user's interest in purchasing shoes is still “medium high” 1605. Thus ad sending entities may more interested than they otherwise would be, knowing now the user is still actively shoe shopping.
  • [0359]
    In cases where a particular item could logically be included in one or more different profiles or ad index topics 1604, the user can manually add, Ad Widge can suggest, and/or the Tilz metadata can already include (or later be remotely updated with) tags which inform inclusion in, or exclusion from, other profiles. In this case, the running shoe Tilz might also be included in the user's sports equipment, running, and/or shoes profiles. Tilz function in this regard, as a relational database, which dramatically increases the usability and value to various parties of Ad Widge profiles.
  • [0360]
    FIG. 17 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein products 1702, 1703, 1704 are interacting with the user 1705 (via the use of RFID); as per the user's profile, Ad Widge is allowing the crackers 1702 to send the user information, but not allowing information from the cereal 1703 or soup 1704. Additionally, the diagram illustrates an embodiment of an example of how scanning 1707 the grocery receipt 1708 can, if the user wishes, automatically add those items from that purchase to the user's ad profile.
  • [0361]
    One of the advertising trends that the Invention enables is, in embodiments, for products 1702, 1703, 1704 to start to interact with shoppers 1705. The average supermarket 1701 in America carries 45,000 items. It would be cacophonous, if thousands of items interacted with a user, as the user walked into/through the store. Instead, users profit from Ad Widge's shield function—a shield against information overload. Each product on a shelf 1702, 1703, 1704 in a store 1701 has some measure of information about that product available in a plurality of locations, often including Websites. Thus there are profiles of each item available somewhere, that the user can benefit from when entering and/or moving about in, for example, a store.
  • [0362]
    In embodiments such profiles can be “sent” to the user's mobile (or other digital) device as follows: the shelf end-cap under each group of like items has an RFID tag affixed. The RFID tag is encoded with the Internet Protocol (IP) address where more information about that item is located. When a user with a mobile handset 1706 featuring an RFID facility walks near an end cap, the RFID facility can interrogate the RFID tag, and when the IP address is returned, point a browser to that location, and thereby download, in realtime, a data tile (Tilz) about that item. In embodiments Ad Widge then presents such Tilz in a unique way, by ghosting the Tilz onto the user's mobile device (in such a manner that the opacity of the Tilz is set to a percentage, say 50%) such that the user can see through the Tilz. If the user has a mobile handset with a camera facility, then the user can turn the camera facility on, hold the mobile handset up in the air in front of the user, in such a manner that the user can see the Tilz for various objects appear in realtime, as the user pans across various items on the shelf, which the user can see in the background behind the ghosted-in Tilz.
  • [0363]
    That Tilz is the profile of that item. The profile may include, but not be limited to, such information as price (which via Ad Widge can be customized and different for different users, as per each user's Ad Widge profile), nutrition information (calories, fat grams, etc.), ingredients list (including whether such ingredients are consistent with the diet service the user is a member of, and/or is kosher, and/or vegan, etc.), et. al. Thereby for a user who is on, for instance, a low sodium diet, Ad Widge could alert the user to items that match the user's low sodium diet profile. And further, in embodiments, Ad Widge then deliver ads/offers/information/et. al. 1019 to the user, in realtime, if the user's Ad Widge preference profile 1016 indicates such interaction is desirable, and even purchase the item 1021, 1022, on the spot, via mobile device.
  • [0364]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that there are a plurality of alternative embodiments and modalities to those described herein that achieve essentially the same or similar data retrieval and profile matching, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Invention (i.e. in embodiments, everything has a profile, profiles are matched, and thereby more intelligent interactions and transactions are facilitated).
  • [0365]
    In embodiments, once a user has completed their (intelligent) shopping, the user scans the barcode on the bottom of their receipt 1708, and thereby receives an individual Tilz for each items they purchased. With Ad Widge, users can receive and manage all their Tilz right on their mobile device 1707 (local Tilz; unlike a Website, which is a remote data source that generally requires a network connection to access and utilize). All the Tilz collectively can, for instance, be added to the user's Groceries profile 1308; and individual Tilz added to other more focused profiles, such as Junk Food, Camping Trip Food, etc. or even added to a profile the user might wish their doctor to view, such as the user's Health profile, which might include all the food items a user consumes over a given period of time. Ad Widge enables a user's doctor or insurance company or other person/entity/machine to subscribe to the one or more of a user's profiles (as per the user's preferences/permissions regarding same 1016, 1024).
  • [0366]
    In embodiments, users automatically receive the Tilz for the items they purchase (without need to scan a physical receipt) when transactions are performed electronically 1021, say via mobile handset 1707, which delivers a Tilz as the digital receipt. The digital receipt includes an individual Tilz for each item the user purchased.
  • [0367]
    FIG. 18 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example architecture wherein a user's ad profile 1801 informs how, when and where 1803, 1804, 1805 a user would like to receive ads, in addition to which ads to receive 1802.
  • [0368]
    In embodiments a user's Ad Widge profiles are stored remotely on servers 1801, which ad-issuing entities 1802 can access via various means including the Internet. Thusly fortified by the data contained in the user's profiles, ad-issuing entities can send ads to users, as per the user's profiles which contain preferences (among others) as to how, when and where the user would like to receive said ads. For example, a user might wish to receive work/business-related ads, between 6 PM and 6:30 PM, Monday through Friday, on the car radio 1803, while driving home from work; Ads related to household items on the user's TV 1804 from 7-9 PM on weeknights.; And all other ads directly on the user's mobile handset 1805.
  • [0369]
    In other embodiments, users will carry their Ad Widge profile Tilz around with them, literally on their mobile handset. In this case, ad-sending entities may obtain and review the user's profile, via interaction with the user's mobile handset 1805 (and therefore, not necessarily via a remote server 1801 that also hosts the user's profiles). The ad-sending entity 1802 may send the ad, which is sent to the user in the form of a Tilz, directly to the user's mobile handset 1805. The user may wish to view the ad via the user's mobile handset or stream it from the user's handset to the user's car radio 1803 or TV 1804. In embodiments, Ad Widge facilitates same as follows: the ad-issuing entity 1802 sends the ad to the user's mobile handset 1805 in the form of a Tilz. As the user is driving home, the radio broadcast includes notification signals in the metadata broadcast alerting appropriate devices, such as the user's mobile handset 1805 that a commercial break is coming up, and if the user's ad serving facility 1019 (Ad Widge) has any ads to insert, indicate to this station now (so the regularly scheduled commercial can be muted) and stream them from the mobile handset 1805 via Bluetooth in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 seconds BEGIN_USERAD.
  • [0370]
    In a situation where a content provider is serving ad-supported content, the content provider's ad server 1802 first checks with the user's Ad Widge profile 1801, before ads for products or services being shown in a video, TV program, movie, Website 1806, etc. are served to the screen. In embodiments, the ad will be streamed from the user's mobile handset 1805 to the user's PC 1809 which is displaying the Website 1806 where the video is playing. Users may be presented with a choice of ads 1807 or 1808. Based upon the user's selection, the user's Ad Widge profile may be updated locally on the user's mobile handset 1805 (if within, say, Bluetooth distance of the PC 1809), or remotely via the Internet to the Ad Widge servers 1801 containing the user's profiles.
  • [0371]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that a user may utilize other digital devices that are similar to or different from a mobile handset, featuring wireless carrier service or not; Such devices are consistent with the principles of the Invention, and are thusly encompassed herein by inference.
  • [0372]
    FIG. 19 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique ad management facility, wherein ads/offers/information/et. al. 1902, 1903, 1904, a user receives are received in thumbnail tiles (Tilz) that are mapped onto (in this case) a sphere 1901; whereupon the sphere information management facility (hereafter “Spherez”) attracts like content to it, for which the user may be paid directly by the ad-sending entity, for prominent placement on the user's topic-specific sphere (Spherez) 1901.
  • [0373]
    When users receive ads on their mobile device they can be viewed using several different information display and navigation facilities such as Spherez (multi-faceted spheres onto which Tilz are mapped). And if the user chooses, when they receive an ad for Tide detergent, they can allow competitors to send an ad for a similar product. These competing ads appear clustered closely to the original Tide ad Tilz on the Spherez. Users can then click on the Tilz of the ad they wish to view and it will be delivered to the device of their choice: mobile device, TV computer, car radio, etc. Users get paid to receive competing ads. This is also why the Tilz construct is so important—its an object for advertisers to target. If a user who is in the market for tires, has been doing research on tires (various search Tilz are now on her Imminent Purchase Spherez), then she could easily get paid $5 or more by competing tire companies who can see the relevant data about this user as it pertains to her car (how many tires the user needs at this time, what size, what make/model/year of car, any modifications to the vehicle, etc.). Further, the user may then start to get paid to receive solicitations from local tire shops to sell or install the desired tires (say Bridgestone). And once the user has made an actual appointment as represented by an appointment Tilz that user might receive $10 or possibly $25 from competing tire companies to switch her upcoming order to their brand. It's the holy grail of advertising—a user who is literally in the act of making a purchase. How much a user continues to get paid depends upon that user's conversion rations. Conversion ratios are how often a user follows through on their purchase. Conversion ratios also matter via a vis the amount advertisers will pay that user.
  • [0374]
    It may be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that fields such as search are becoming inextricably linked to advertising, and thus embodiments that relate to search/advertising warrant exploration.
  • [0375]
    With Ad Widge users can, for the first time, actually actively manage their ads 1902, 1903, 1904. And with Ad Widge Spherez, ads achieve a unique level of capability and usability—thus making ads far more valuable to users—literally making users lives better. For example, if a user's microwave oven is 10 years old, and needs replacing, the user, in embodiments, scans the barcode/RFID of their microwave oven to receive the data tile 1902 (Tilz) on their mobile handset. The received Tilz is mapped onto an information navigation facility called a Spherez 1901, which appears on the user's mobile handset screen. Spherez 1901 enable users to manage the ads/offers/information/et. al. they receive.
  • [0376]
    As per the conventional art, a user who needed to replace their microwave oven would most likely sit down at their PC, and utilize a search engine to seek out information about microwave ovens. In fact, as per the conventional art, users often have to become a mini-expert when they need to accomplish something: find a reliable plumber to fix the leaking kitchen sink, figure out how to increase their child's chances of getting into the desired nursery school, or in this case, find a replacement for their aging microwave oven. As per the conventional art a user is likely to take a significant deal of time, trying to learn about microwave ovens: what's new since the user last purchased a microwave?; which manufacturer's are reliable?; should the user purchase the microwave online or at a local store near the user? (taking into account such issues such as product returns and repairs).
  • [0377]
    And as step #1, which ovens are right for me? As per the conventional art, a user would likely have to try to locate a tape measure, then go into their kitchen attempt to measure the dimensions of the opening of their cabinetry in which their current microwave resides. At which point the user realizes the microwave also provides the cooktop ventilation. The user is probably scribbling down all this information on a piece of paper, which they have to take back to their PC utilize as the starting point for a long and rambling search for suitable replacement microwaves.
  • [0378]
    During the conventional art search process (which is funded by the appurtenant advertising, such as paid search), the user's time is being expended, and monies are being made by the search provider. Monies paid to search providers increase the costs of goods. Product makers build their marketing/advertising costs into the price of their products. Therefore every dollar that goes into a search engine's pocket is ultimately a dollar taken out of a user's pocket.
  • [0379]
    With Ad Widge other entities take their time supplying information to the user, and it is the user who gets paid.
  • [0380]
    The Tilz 1902 for the user's microwave oven, contains the profile for the user's microwave oven. With Ad Widge users don't have to become a mini-expert for all the problems they need to solve during the course of their regular life. With Ad Widge, the user doesn't have to research the dimensions of their microwave, or try to discover the power requirements, or if it is a combination microwave/cooktop vent model. The user doesn't need to know any such details. In embodiments the user, via Ad Widge, simply indicates that their microwave oven needs replacement and drags the Tilz for their old microwave oven from the blocked ads (REJECT) profile, to the seeking ads (ACCEPT) profile. And, in embodiments, within seconds, two things happen: the user starts receiving profile-informed ads/information, and the user gets paid to receive same.
  • [0381]
    Only those entities which manufacture microwaves that fit the proper dimensions, and include required functionality (such a cooktop venting) send ad Tilz or offer Tilz or information Tilz to the user. And only those bricks and mortar stores near the user send the user ads, hoping to convince the user to purchase the microwave at their store.
  • [0382]
    If a manufacturer made a microwave oven that did not include the cooktop venting function (and thus would not meet the user's needs) were to send the user an ad or information Tilz, it would be a waste of that company's time and money (as the user won't be buying their product) thus they are automatically disincentivized from bombarding the user with ads.
  • [0383]
    In response to the newly flagged ACCEPT condition regarding microwave ovens in the user's Ad Widge profile, the user may start to receive additional ads/offers/information/et. al. 1903, 1904 presently. The Spherez maps these Tilz onto the sphere in such a way as to site the most closely matched responses as close as possible to the key position 1902 on the Spherez—currently occupied by the Tilz 1902 for the user's current microwave. Ad Widge's profile matching algorithm facilities 1015 compare the profile of the incoming Tilz to the user's current microwave and place the best matches 1903, 1904 as close as possible to the key Tilz for the user's microwave 1902.
  • [0384]
    Alternatively if the user's Ad Widge profile allows, ad-sending entities can pay the user for premium data placement 1413 on the Spherez 1901 (a variation on paid search advertising wherein the users get paid, as opposed to the search engine middlemen as per the conventional art).
  • [0385]
    Several other aspects of the Ad Widge information navigation modalities are worth noting. First, Spherez is just one of an essentially limitless number of possible embodiments for ads/offers/information/et. al. presentation. Instead of spheres they can be cubes, or any shape the user desires. Third parties can build other Ad Widge information navigation modalities (templates) for anyone to use, either for free or for a fee.
  • [0386]
    Spherez are a convenient navigation modality for the smaller screen size of the mobile handset (and work well with a touchscreen wherein the user can navigate the Spherez by flicking with their finger which causes the Spherez to spin, and thereby reveal the desired Tilz). Users on a mobile handset may prefer a handful of relevant search results (as per Ad Widge), to a million blue links (as per conventional search engines).
  • [0387]
    Spherez attract like content—which revolutionizes search. With a conventional search engine, a search is performed, but the search results are generally not saved. So any given user may do the same search over and over again. With Spherez search results are saved—the ads/offers/information/et. al. a user receives related to a given topic are each maintained on separate profile-based Spherez (that the user can keep indefinitely). FIG. 19 illustrates the user's microwave oven Spherez. Ad Widge creates Spherez for each of a user's profiles. For example, a user whose hobby is comic book collecting may have a Comic Book Spherez, which stores current information (Tilz) the user already has, and continues to attract new information, such as upcoming comic book conventions, and offers from comic book sellers. Spherez are “living” entities. That is to say, they continue to function in the background, attracting like content. In the case of the user's microwave oven Spherez 1901, it might continue to attract like content, such as ads about microwavable cookware, or microwave recipes, or information about sterilizing a baby's bottle using the microwave, etc. However, each user's Spherez only attracts content as per that user's profile. Thus each user's Spherez are different, even if they are about the same topic—such as microwave ovens. If a user doesn't have a baby, that user likely won't receive the baby bottle sterilization Tilz. User's profiles inform inbound messaging.
  • [0388]
    With Ad Widge, search is no longer a process that puts all the burden on the user, instead search becomes something that happens automatically, and continuously, and minimizes the amount of time a user has to invest in the process. Ad Widge respects the user experience. Conventional search does not. With conventional search, the search engine makes money off users; wherein Ad Widge makes money with users.
  • [0389]
    Conventional search also fails users in other ways. Consider the case of two users in Paris, each one trying to figure out where to go for dinner. As per the conventional art, they each avail themselves of a search engine, and type in “Paris restaurants.” The search engine, returns the same results for both users. There are billions of users on earth, each of whom are different, yet conventional art search engines return the same results for all users. One-size-fits-all search/advertising is a woefully inadequate solution.
  • [0390]
    Consider the additional case information that one person is a student backpacking through Europe and the other person is the CEO of a large company. Chances are the student wants to pay very little for dinner, while the CEO might be willing to pay quite a lot. Search engines should deliver different results for different people. Yet don't.
  • [0391]
    Ads are information that inform purchase decisions. The two Paris users need information to inform their restaurant choice.
  • [0392]
    Utilizing Ad Widge is a far more effective way of informing their restaurant choice. In embodiments, Ad Widge sets their Restaurant profiles to ACCEPT and updates the user's location information 1206. Each user's restaurant profile consists of a Tilz for each restaurant they've already been to, thus Paris restaurants can make an informed decision as to whether the student's or CEO's restaurant tastes are such that they are a possible match. And if so, those restaurants send the particular user their ad Tilz, and potentially pay the user to receive such information 1903, 1904.
  • [0393]
    In embodiments Ad Widge blurs some aspects of the line between search and advertising. Ad Widge delivers more relevant information to users; in this case delivering differing and highly relevant sets of ads/offers/information/et. al. based upon each user's profile; whereas conventional art search engines treat every single user on earth, as if they all had the same profile. Profile-based search/advertising, as per the present Invention, obsoletes the conventional art.
  • [0394]
    Embodiments are virtually endless, and compelling, and unique, and revolutionize aspects of search, marketing, advertising, and merchandising.
  • [0395]
    These and other objects and features of the present Invention may become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the description and practice of the Invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • [0396]
    The Invention description makes reference to barcode/RFID scanners on mobile handsets, however the same or similar information may be acquired by other means and/or modalities such as sourcing information via a Website, and/or by utilizing devices other than mobile handsets, consistent with the principles of the Invention, and therefore alternative means, modalities and devices are included herein by inference.
  • [0397]
    The Invention consists primarily, though not exclusively, of a Website, server software, and a widget (Webified mini-software application) that together facilitate a novel method for delivering and receiving advertising. Via the Website (easily accessible and usable via mobile handset) or widget, users create an account. Users then create a profile of items (or types of items) they would like to see ads for. Advertisers receive permission from the users for the right to both view the user's ad profile and send ads to the user as per the user's ad solicitation profile. Advertisers then deliver ads to all the users who indicated a desire to receive an ad for that specific product or service.
  • Misc.
  • [0398]
    In embodiments the Ad Widge site is pre-populated with a list of various types of businesses, service providers, etc. similar to those in phonebooks, which may aid the user in building a list of specific entities or classes of entities from which the user may want to receive ads. In embodiments the user then creates a profile listing the items they may want ads for, including via means such as scanning the product barcodes/RFID of everyday items they use.
  • [0399]
    In embodiments when the Ad Widge widget is active on a user's mobile handset, and the user is scanning a barcode, a query bubble (Tilz) pops up and asks: “Start Coupons for this Item, Stop Coupons for this Item, or Sorting Bin” If the user selects the Sorting Bin, the item is stored in a general folder that the user can come back to later and sort into the correct coupon profile later (or have an automatic sorting facility accomplish the same (automatically)).
  • [0400]
    Once the user has established an Ad Profile, the user can receive ads sent via the Internet or other means such as WiFi or Bluetooth. For example, let's say a user has added Gyms and Coffee Shops to their Ad Profile. While walking down the street with the Ad Widge widget active on their mobile handset, the user can receive ads according to their Ad Profile:
  • Solicit, Send, and Receive Ads
  • [0401]
    A user's Ad Profile can be synced with the user's other profiles such as Regularly Purchased Items, Gift Registry List, Recreation List or Entertainment List (which may include items such as the restaurants, etc. frequently used by that user). Once the user's Ad Profile is established Ad Widge solicits ads from all service/product suppliers and other entities that match the user's preference profile.
  • [0402]
    Ad-sending entities can then provision ads. The Ad Widge Website comes pre-populated with templates enabling users to create digital ads. Ad Widge also encourages third parties to upload digital ad templates which they can offer for free or for a fee. Ad senders pay users for the right to send ads as per the preferences of the user.
  • [0403]
    Users can receive ads on their mobile handsets (or any digital device of their choice). If the user has solicited and received offers, they are ready to redeem them. Ad Widge offers can be redeemed in person, by using a mobile handset to display and redeem the offer at suitably equipped POS (point of sale) stations. Offers may also be redeemed via mobile payment transaction using a unique ID number for each offer.
  • [0404]
    In embodiments the Ad Widge digital, user-solicited offer redemption process is executed in three primary steps:
  • [0000]
    1) Upon presentation of the digital offer, the shopper receives an immediate discount for the amount of the offer utilized in the transaction;
    2) The retailer electronically presents the digital offer to the offer issuer for payment; and
    3) Once the offer issuer pays the retailer the offer face amount (at specified intervals which could be daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) plus a small incentive fee, the shopper may receive an incentive such as a payment for utilizing the offer.
  • [0405]
    All three parties can be paid simultaneously for all-digital transactions (though in some cases offer issuers will ask that retailers present aggregated audited bundles of offers for payment). The offer issuer may induce retailers to use digital offers by offering a larger incentive fee for using digital (non-paper) offers.
  • Detailed Ad Widge Process
  • [0406]
    On a Website (easily accessible and utilized, for instance, via mobile handset) users sign up. Users then create an ad profile of items (or types of items) they would like to see coupons for.
  • [0407]
    Ad issuers pay for the right to both view the recipient's ad profile and send ads to the recipient as per the recipient's ad solicitation profile.
  • [0408]
    Ad issuers deliver ads to all the recipients who indicated a desire to receive a ad for that specific product or service.
  • [0409]
    Ads can be delivered where and how the user selects: such as to social networking sites, online videos, within video games, to mobile handsets or PCs or TVs, and via email, text message or postal mail (or other means). Wireless Internet networks (such as WiFi) enable ads targeted to specific geographic locations. GPS-enabled mobile handsets enable ads targeted to even more specific locations.
  • [0410]
    Users can also change ad receiving venues (for example: stop sending this type of ad to my mobile handset, and instead send it via postal mail).
  • [0411]
    Ads are also delivered in a format according to the users' preferences profile: ads alone, ads delivered within ads, detailed information on the ad, just basic information, etc. Also users can control when ads are delivered, especially in the case where users choose to receive ads on their mobile handset. Users may not want ads arriving during their work hours, so they can choose to schedule to receive them, say, only from 6-8 PM at night and perhaps during their lunch hour.
  • [0412]
    The Ad Widge Website also maintains a history, at the user's option, of all past ads/offers received. A user's Ad Widge can store a plurality of ads/offers and make use of them while shopping anywhere in the world.
  • [0413]
    Ad Widge automatically moves expired ads/offers into an Expired Ads/Offers folder. Users can make public or share with other users their Ad Profile of ads sought. Users can choose to view ads in the Website white spaces that result from the use of ad blocking software.
  • [0414]
    In embodiments Ad Widge ads have an IP barcode enabling instant purchase of the item via mobile handset—for which the user may be given a discount or paid a rebate.
  • Ad Profile
  • [0415]
    Users set up a profile indicating the type of items they'd like to receive ads for, and what format (which can differ for each item) they'd like their ads to be: email, text messages (SMS), videos (MMS), TV/radio ads, or postal mail delivered to their home/office. A user's profile also details how they'd like the information to be presented to them: high level only, intangible benefits, or technical details, or comparison to competitors, etc.
  • [0416]
    Users can create their own profiles, either explicitly or implicitly. Explicitly: via filling out their ad profile on the Ad Widge Website or on the user's mobile handset. Implicitly: via means such as barcode/RFID scanning with their mobile handset. Barcode/RFID scanning can, at the user's option, track a user's actual shopping habits. In addition users can scan barcodes of items they are just browsing, but not buying, in offline stores (which enables Ad Widge to collect data about offline activities not included by today's digital search or advertising tools). Ad Widge also tracks tag-related search (uTag) results to add a user's online browsing habits to their profile as well. Such barcode scanning can also track where users eat (restaurants) and recreate (sporting events attended, etc.), what users read (which books users read or own or borrow from the library), and where users vacation (hotels, airlines, etc.). Ad Widge can track, and add to a user's profile, those items on Websites or in TV ads a user requests more information about.
  • [0417]
    In embodiments users can elect to let Ad Widge automatically create the user's ad profile based upon the user's barcode/RFID scanning habits. A user's ad profile can be automatically created via the use of barcode/RFID scanners on mobile handsets to mark those items users are interested in. By scanning those items a user regularly encounters in the user's daily life (such as food items, household items such as light bulbs, DVDs purchases, etc.) it is very simple to build and manage the list of items for which users want to receive ads for. At the user's choice, Ad Widge can monitor which items a user barcode/RFID scans and suggest ads that might be of interest.
  • [0418]
    The product/service Ad Index List is pre-populated by Ad Widge but can be added to and maintained by users and product/service vendors who want to make sure their ads can be found.
  • [0419]
    Many of the offline, real-life items/products/objects in a user's life have a barcode/RFID that can be scanned. In embodiments, only those items that the user chooses to scan and wants to receive information on will be fed to the Invention which then automatically updates the user's ad profile. The user may also manually edit the ad profile created by the Ad Widge software.
  • [0420]
    Users can create an ad profile to indicate which items they'd like to receive ads for, and which items they don't want to receive ads for (as well as items that they are neutral towards receiving ads for). In embodiments, Ad Widge features a list of items, with radio buttons next to each item for the user to click: Want Ads, Don't Want Ads, or Neutral. For example: if a user has enough credit cards, the user can indicate that they Don't Want any credit card ads/offers.
  • [0421]
    Ad Widge users may utilize a new type of reverse electronic “cookies” (hereafter My Cookiez)—a token or short packet of data passed between communicating programs—to send ad profile information to TV's, radios, other devices, and for various forms of online and offline activity. For example, when a user is on a Website, the Invention can automatically send that user's cookies (My Cookiez) to that Website's servers (or directly to the company serving the advertising on that Website) to transmit the user's ad profile, so the Website can deliver user-solicited ads to the user.
  • Ad Topic List
  • [0422]
    For each category list topic Ad Widge collects (links to) ads related to that topic. When advertisers create an ad they also include metadata for the ad that includes category tags/keywords. Once the ad (with metadata tags) has been created and placed online the Ad Widge (uTag tag-based) search engine crawls to find tagged ads and delivers them to the Ad Widge Ad Topic profile.
  • [0423]
    Let's say a user wanted to see ads for a delivery pizza parlors, the user scrolls down to pizza in the Ad Categories list in Ad Widge. Ad Widge collects ads (based on tag keywords) from various pizza parlors and present the results in a manner described below. The user clicks on the data tile (Tilz) featuring the pizza parlor they would like to see ads for.
  • Contextual Ads
  • [0424]
    Users can also set their ad profile to allow them to receive ads for things not specifically listed in their ad wish profile. So for instance while watching a sporting event on TV (or Website or mobile handset or other or listening via digital radio or other) they could receive sports related ads (advertising upcoming sporting events, sports memorabilia, etc.), but not solicitations for, say, refinancing a mortgage.
  • Blended Ads
  • [0425]
    Users can choose to allow or disallow blended ads. For example the following radio ad: Expression College of Digital Arts (San Francisco) presents an Expression Session with the band Silver Sun Pickups. Users who are into live music might allow such a blended ad for this concert (which also advertises this local college).
  • Pop-in Ads
  • [0426]
    Ads that pop into, say, the TV picture during the show or are sent to the user's mobile device instead. For example, a user is watching a show where the cast members are in a beautiful hotel, and the user wants to find out more information about that hotel. The user, via IP-based barcodes (Net Dotz), can request the Tilz for that hotel with the user's mobile handset (Mobi), and thereby receive a custom Tilz for that hotel (with information customized as per the profile of each viewer who receives the hotel Tilz). Users can click through the Tilz for a map that locates the hotel; to reviews from travel enthusiasts with profiles similar to the user's; discounts/offers/promotions for the hotel; automatic reminder whenever the user's mobile device (Mobi) is within, say, 50 miles of the hotel; or when the user's travel itinerary indicates the user will be within 50 miles of the hotel. Pop-in ads appear as per the user's Ad Widge profile. So for instance, for a user who is watching a TV show, pop-in ads could contain information about things such as the couch the cast are sitting on, or the restaurant they're eating in, or the wine they just ordered, or the clothes they are wearing, etc. etc. The ads are send to the user's mobile device (Mobi) during the show and thus won't interfere with the viewing experience of others in the room. And the user gets paid to receive these ads. The user can keep the ad on their mobile device (Mobi) and it will be updated with the latest information on the hotel (room or spa pricing and specials, events held there, etc.); updated whenever the user's mobile device (Mobi) is connected to the Internet, or, and this is a unique Mobi feature, when it finds a more updated Tilz for that hotel on another person's digital device, which can then automatically update the user's Tilz via, say, Bluetooth.
  • Interest Categories
  • [0427]
    Users can also set their ad profile to allow ads anytime, anywhere (TV, Website, digital radio) that meet the user's interest categories. For instance, movie buffs could specify in their profile that they are always open to seeing the latest movie trailers, no matter if the Website they happen to be visiting has anything to do with movies or not (meaning non-contextual ads are OK if they meet the user's specified Interest Categories.) And users can even set specifics within an interest category. For example, only horror film trailers, or just comedy movies, or actions movies, or anything with Halle Berry in it, or romantic comedies, or any movie trailers except for foreign films with subtitles.
  • Behavioral Ads
  • [0428]
    Users can choose to receive ads based upon the behavior of others with similar profiles, who solicited certain ads. Such a profile might be: attends sporting events, and wine tastings, and art galleries, married, car lover, age 25-40, etc. A user's behavior profile can be imported from a social networking site, or created from scratch on the Ad Widge Website. In embodiments the anonymous behavioral ad matching is accomplished via the Ad Widge servers which compare ad serving for mathematically constructed groups formed by various aggregations of behavior keywords. All permutations of up to 4 keywords at a time are examined, and clear trends with very high degrees of confidence are used to suggest ads for a user, based upon ads solicited by others with similar behavior profiles.
  • Affinity Ads
  • [0429]
    Users can choose to receive ads based upon the interests or behavior of others in their affinity groups (women, men, college students, elderly, married, single, soccer team, etc.). For example, other women (with similar profiles) wanted ads for these cosmetics or clothes, so this user might also.
  • Self-Aggregating Groups
  • [0430]
    Before all advertisers switch to one-to-one marketing, some may wish to continue to want to market to larger groups of users. Users can choose to create or join groups of people with similar profiles. Ad Widge facilitates entente cordiale—the friendly agreement among such users to work together to maximize ad profile monetization. Ad Widge aggregates these groups and makes them available to advertisers using, in embodiments, no-personally identifiable information about the users in the group. Users can join, or elect to allow themselves to be automatically added to various groups as they are created. Users get paid for the resultant ads. Users can also choose to be the curator or host of a group. They might try to create a very large group; or they might want to be very selective about who they let in to the groups to increase the attractiveness to advertisers (and thereby increase the payment per user). Third parties can also choose to curate or host various groups of profiles.
  • Intramedia Ads or Intrastitial Ads
  • [0431]
    Ad Widge technology is compatible with embedded ads within a show, movie, video, photo, document (Tilz) or any digital content, as long as the intramedia/intrastitial ad supports tags. Users can wirelessly collect such ads/offers via mobile handset. Intramedia/interstitial content are ads or content that the user cannot fast forward past or otherwise skip. Intramedia ads may float on top of part of the existing program. Interstitial ads are ads between segments of a show or between successive Tilz, and are displayed between shows (or during commercial breaks) but, again, cannot be defeated or avoided by the user.
  • Freshness
  • [0432]
    As illustrated in an example embodiment in FIG. 16 the user's ad profile indicates to the ad senders how recently the user indicated a desire to receive ads on a given subject. The time and date an item is added to a user's Want Ads profile is indicated to those viewing the profile. Users who recently indicated an interest for a particular ad item might be more valuable to advertisers, than, say, a user who more than a year ago indicated an interest for that same item. This difference in freshness value is reflected in the price advertisers pay to view a user's profile. The more up to date the profile (on average, across all profile data) the more useful the advertisers will find the users profile.
  • [0433]
    The interest freshness radio button is automatically set to highest interest level the first time a customer registers a product interest. Then each week (or other time interval) the interest level is automatically lowered along with the price charged advertisers (and commissions paid to users), one notch. The user may countermand this automatic lowering of interest level by manually re-setting it to the highest level—indicating their interest in purchasing such a product is still very high. Users may also re-set the highest level of interest in any given item by scanning its barcode again.
  • [0434]
    This freshness process assures ad issuers fresh interest on the part of the consumers they market to.
  • Usage Based Suggestions
  • [0435]
    At the user's choice, Ad Widge, via a proprietary software algorithm, can monitor which items a user barcode/RFID scans and suggest other ads that might be of interest. The user could also choose to let Ad Widge automatically create the user's ad profile based upon the user's barcode/RFID scanning habits.
  • [0436]
    Users can also indicate in their profile that they are willing to let anyone send an ad—on any subject—if the sender meets the requirements set by the user. The user could then choose to add that ad to their Want or Don't Want ad profile.
  • Users Rate Ads
  • [0437]
    Another unique feature of the Invention is interactivity. Advertisers have longed for the ability to find out how relevant/useful the ads were to various users, in real-time, without the artificial focus-group environment. Users can choose to, or not to, rate the ads they receive for quality and relevance as well as suggest improvements. Users can also change ad receiving venues (for example: stop sending this type of ad to my mobile handset, and instead send it to my TV, where the same ad may receive a higher rating, due perhaps to the larger screen real estate on a TV).
  • [0438]
    In this way the Ad Widge software engine fine tunes the likes/dislikes of its users. And by rating an ad the very lowest rating, the user can stop all future ads of that type from that vendor. The user ad ratings information may, at the user's option, be made available to ad vendors for free or for a fee. Thus, users are incentivized to rate ads, since only ad-rating users will receive a percentage of the income generated by selling Ad Effectiveness Statistics back to the ad-sending entities.
  • 4 Types of Ratings
  • [0439]
    1) Ad issuers can rate users (e.g. person A is a heavy ad watcher, person B rarely watches requested ads).
    2) Users can rate the ads from the advertisers (and/or users can rate the ad supplying company, such as the product vendor).
    3) Usage Ratio: for each Ad Widge ad solicited Ad Widge software calculates ratios such as the percentage of ads requested vs. the percentage watched.
    4) Purchase Ratio: Ad Widge software assigns a score (a rating) that matches a user's purchases against their solicited-ad profile (Ad Widge software can track, at the user's option, the percentage of solicited ads that lead to purchases of that specific product—across all ads requested and utilized by a given user).
  • Market Research
  • [0440]
    Users who rate the ads might receive (at the advertiser's choice) additional incentives from the advertiser, which may be in the form of a novel digital, credits-based currency (hereafter “iDough”). Advertisers or market research firms can also send more detailed questionnaires about the product/service ad to selected users whose profile allows this. Thus the Invention enables a new type of real-time market research.
  • User Run Ad Forums
  • [0441]
    An additional aspect of Ad Widge interactivity is the user-run forums which give users who wish to discuss the advertising, or any other matter/topic, a place to express their views. In embodiments, advertisers can pay to view and monitor such forums, however they may not interact with any user, unless that user specifically opts-in to interaction with advertisers in the forums.
  • Widget
  • [0442]
    Ad Widge's software widget resides on user devices (particularly mobile handsets), and enables (among many other functions) stores, merchants, service providers, etc. to send ads to a user's mobile handset (or device of user's choice or in paper form to their home/office or other user-specified locations), as well as enables users to manage their ad profile.
  • [0000]
    Purchasing from Ads
  • [0443]
    Digital barcodes on ads enable purchasing from ads. In embodiments, Ad Widge ads contain a novel type of IP-based digital barcode (hereafter “Net Dotz”) enabling, among other features, instant electronic purchase of the item. The IP address contains the location where more information about the item can be found. Ad barcodes are easily scannable by suitably-equipped mobile handsets (Mobis) for online or offline purchases of the ad item. In embodiments, scanning the digital barcode may return transactable tiles of information (hereafter “Tilz”) relating to the ad.
  • [0444]
    In embodiments Tilz function as a focused mini-Website pertaining to just the object from that ad, enabling (among other features) instant purchases of the ad item from both online and offline ads. In embodiments the user may be given a discount or paid a rebate for purchasing items directly from the ad, since it saves the product/service maker the expense of paying middlemen such as department stores to stock and sell the item. One advantage of having an IP-based digital barcode such as a Net Dotz on the ad, is that the vendor can feature the very latest pricing for the item, and even offer different pricing or discounts depending on who the shopper is. The user's reverse cookies, My Cookiez, may, at the user's option, provide the vendor the preference profile or other profiles of the user scanning the digital barcode on the ad. Furthermore Net Dotz digital barcodes are also electronic so users, for instance, watching TV or listening to the radio can “scan” the electronic digital barcode as they watch TV or listen to the radio, to download the associated data tile (Tilz) ad to their mobile handset, and effect the purchase therefrom.
  • [0445]
    In embodiments the user may scan the IP-based digital barcode with their mobile handset, and be able to complete the purchase transaction using their mobile handset via the Coupon Widge widget to transmit their credit card information or other payment modality information; or pay via a novel type of credits-based digital currency, iDough.
  • Time Limits
  • [0446]
    There can be time limits put on any of the user's ad profile list items. If a user just purchased tires, that user doesn't need to see tire ads for, say, 3 years. The Ad Widge widget can block tire ads for three years, and then start allowing/soliciting them 36 months later, depending upon tire need at that time.
  • Preview and Schedule Ads
  • [0447]
    Ad Widge enables users to preview ads. Using the AD FORMAT described below, advertisers can also include short, say 10 second long “trailers” for their full length 2 minute detailed product ads. If the recipient doesn't wish to view the ad based upon the preview, the user's negative rating for the preview is sent back to the advertisers. If the recipient wants to review the full length ad, the recipient has the option of scheduling the ad for any time/date, or even downloading the ad to the recipient's digital device of choice (mobile handset, PC, TV/set top box, DVR, et. al.) for later viewing at the recipient's convenience. Recipients can also choose to schedule ads via a plurality of manners including, but not limited to: never send again, send again but not for X hours/days/weeks/months/years and/or other options.
  • Other Profile Details
  • [0448]
    Users can choose to fill out as much or as little personal information about themselves in their ad profile. Users can choose to provide, or not, additional information that advertisers routinely seek out via means such as contest entry forms such as gender, age, income, zip code, hobbies, etc. The more information the user provides, the more robust their profile, which likely increases the value of the profile—and thus the amounts paid to the user by entities who pay to view/utilize the user's profile.
  • Instant Ads
  • [0449]
    Ad Widge is mobile digital-content format (Tilz) and tags/keywords compatible so, in embodiments, instant ads can appear, for instance, across the bottom of relevant, ad-enabled mobile documents (Tilz).
  • Anonymity
  • [0450]
    Users can choose to use an anonymous IP address supplied to them by Ad Widge to receive all their ads (via forwarding), without disclosing any personally identifiable information to the ad senders.
  • Privacy
  • [0451]
    Ad Widge addresses some online users' privacy concerns (that some major online advertising companies are starting to encounter) by putting users in charge of their own ad profile, including which information to disclose to advertisers. Ad Widge does not require users to make their ad profiles public. Users can keep their profiles private, and anonymously disclose to selected advertisers just those items they wish to receive ads about.
  • Security
  • [0452]
    In embodiments Ad Widge ads are presented in mobile digital-content format (Tilz), which assigns an unique digital serial number to each ad. In cases, for instance, where the user makes an in-ad purchase and/or pays for the transaction electronically (via mobile handset) a digital receipt is created detailing the serial number of each ad, and item(s) purchased, in that transaction.
  • Ad Format
  • [0453]
    In embodiments Ad Widge ads appear in an unique digital content format (Tilz) that is optimized for mobile handsets but is compatible with a plurality of devices (such as PC's, TV's/set top boxes, cell phones, etc.). This format, Tilz, has numerous features, however one interesting feature enables users to store any ads (if the advertiser allows) on their digital devices for playback at a later time. This unique format also allows ads to be placed in, around, under, alongside, etc. any digital file (document, video, song, TV show, etc.). Thus via Ad Widge, solicited ads can appear, at the user's request, in many new places other than where conventional art banner ads typically appear.
  • Digital Ad Formats
  • [0454]
    Ad Widge can present digital ads in a plurality of sizes, shapes and/or formats, particularly so when using the mobile digital-content format (Tilz). Some of the common ad formats Ad Widge can place ads in, without using mobile digital-content format (Tilz), are skins (e.g. wrap a movie ad around a video), bugs (e.g. a graphic of the item being advertised that slides onto the bottom of a video as it plays: the graphic offers viewers who click on it the ability to wirelessly receive ads/offers/information), and tickers (e.g. overlay ads which insert text or graphics like a ticker-tape at the bottom of a video).
  • Match My Offer
  • [0455]
    Match My Offer enables customers to accept bids from competing products to match or beat an offer amount. For example, an Ad Widge user receives a “2-for-1 Tide laundry detergent” offer, but just before they use it, selects the Match My Offer option on the Ad Widge widget, which then causes their mobile handset broadcast that offer and ask competing laundry detergent companies or other entities to match or beat that offer in the minutes/hours/days before the user purchases detergent. The Ad Widge Match My Offer offer is displayed on the Ad Widge Website (or other locations, such as the user's profile CloudCast) for all ad vendors' servers to monitor and issue realtime offers if they choose. In embodiments Ad Widge broadcasts the impending use of a coupon and solicits other coupons that match or beat it. Thereupon local vendors or the store itself or other entities may send a competing coupon to the user's mobile handset.
  • Paid Ads
  • [0456]
    Paid ads function in a fashion similar to paid search. In embodiments, users indicate in their profile that they are willing to let anyone send an ad—on any subject—if the sender pays the user (a user-set minimum amount). The user could then choose to add that ad to their Want or Don't Want ad profile. Users can create their own lists of ads they solicit, but for those users who opt-in to the Paid Ad option in their Ad Widge profile, they are indicating to ad vendors that they are willing to receive ads from any vendor on either a Selected List of items, or All Items. That is to say, the user will still receive ads for those items they specifically listed in their Ad Widge profile, but also are open to receiving ads from competing vendors. So for instance if they indicated they want Tide laundry detergent ads in their Ad Widge profile, but are open to Paid Ads, then vendors such as Cheer laundry detergent can pay the user for the privilege of sending an ad for Cheer (in the hopes of causing that consumer to try their product instead of what the consumer usually uses). Users are incentivized to use receive paid ads because they may be paid more than the usual fee they receive for receiving ads. The ad sender may ask if the user liked the ad (or just be informed whether the user added the ad to the user's profile). Ad senders may even conduct mini market research this way.
  • Related and Unrelated Ads
  • [0457]
    Ad Widge offers users the option of receiving ads for products or services related to those which they already indicated an interest in. If the user elects the Related Ads option, then each time an ad is sent to the user, that is related to any of their areas of interest the user specifically elected for Related Offers, a window (Tilz) pops up and ask if the user if they would like to view a related ad.
  • [0458]
    Unrelated Ads function in a fashion similar to Related Ads but apply to products/services/etc. unrelated to an ad the user received. Unrelated Ad users can opt to add restrictions on the Unrelated Ad pertaining to which device (mobile handset, TV, PC, etc.) the ad is to be sent to, including time of day and day of week restrictions.
  • [0459]
    Users are incentivized (by the fees they potentially stand to receive) to be open to receiving ads from vendors they have not previously specifically allowed.
  • [0460]
    For example, if the user was in the market for laundry detergent, and was leaning toward purchasing Tide detergent, an ad for Tide laundry detergent would appear in the center tile of the data tile sphere navigation facility (Spherez). Then laundry detergents with similar characteristics (tags) would appear in the tiles around the Tide laundry detergent center tile, so that competitors who also have laundry detergent can also present the user their ads. Ad Widge calls these Piggy Back Ads. The user may spin the data tile navigation sphere (Spherez) using finger flicking motions (on a touch-screen capable digital device) to see more related/unrelated results.
  • Sponsored Ads
  • [0461]
    Sponsored Ads are ads that advertisers directly send to users, irrespective of whether the ad meets that user's solicited-ad categories list. Users must first choose to allow (explicitly opt-in) to receive such sponsored ads. For instance, if a user is watching a TV show such as “Cheers” and that episode is sponsored by Starbuck's Coffee, then Starbuck's Coffee can send ads/offers/information/et. al. to all those in the viewing audience who allow such sponsored ads.
  • Unique “Missed Demand” Tracking Capability
  • [0462]
    Ad Widge can provide retailers with information they have never been able to track before: Missed Demand. Missed Demand is defined herein to mean when there are no more left of a particular item on a retailer's shelf, but consumers come to that shelf hoping to purchase that particular out-of-stock (or simply empty-shelf) item. For example, let's say a consumer goes to a grocery store to purchase 2 liter Diet Coke. When the consumer gets to the shelf it is empty. As per the conventional art the store would have no way of knowing how many additional bottles of Diet Coke they could have sold (and thus should have ordered for that store) had their supply exactly equaled demand. Ad Widge could sell this Missed Sales or Missed Demand information to retailers (and split this income with each consumer who helped provide the Missed Sales data). Employing Ad Widge, the store may have the barcode/RFID tag on the edge (or end cap) of the shelf where the Diet Coke sits. If the shelf is empty when the consumer arrives, the consumer simply scans the Diet Coke barcode/RFID. A message is instantly sent to the consumer's mobile handset via Ad Widge asking how many 2 liter Diet Cokes they would have purchased if they were in stock. Once the consumer has indicated the number of missed items they would have purchased, a Rain Check may be sent to the consumer's mobile handset via Ad Widge for the number of Diet Cokes sought. (This Rain Check could be set to expire, say in one week, or any other vendor selectable timeframe.) Everyone wins: the consumer gets a rain check, the grocery store gets the missed demand information sent along with that consumer's shopping club profile information (if they have one), and Coca Cola also gets the data about Missed Sales (to determine store by store sales efficiencies).
  • [0463]
    This “missed demand” data is valuable information that the store (or other entity) may remunerate the consumer for, and the manufacturer may pay consumers for indicating would-be purchase data. Not only that, but stores and manufacturers get this data in realtime. Analytics they've never had available before.
  • [0464]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present Invention, more particular descriptions of the Invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are, in some cases, illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings and descriptions depict only typical embodiments of the Invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The Invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail via the following applications and use cases.
  • Local Advertising
  • [0465]
    Unlike conventional art local advertising, local advertising using Ad Widge send ads to recipients who wish to receive such ads. For example, a neighborhood ice cream shop using Ad Widge could be wirelessly broadcasting (in a one block radius) an ad for their premium ice cream. Instead of this ad spamming all mobile handset users within their broadcast radius, only those mobile handset users who wish to receive ice cream ads, as per their Ad Widge profile, will receive the ad on their mobile handset. Or as a user walks past a yogurt shop, the yogurt shop can entice the user with an offer if the user's profile is open to receiving such offers. Or the pizza parlor can be broadcasting (in a five mile radius) ads highlighting their unique pies, to attract users to their pizza place rather than their competitors. Again, only those users within that radius (who solicited pizza ads) will receive ads on their mobile handset (or other digital device the user designates in their ad profile).
  • Location Based Advertising
  • [0466]
    Ad Widge enables both ad senders and ad recipients to create profiles that set geographic limits for the scope of ads sent/received (again with an eye toward most users of the Invention utilizing their mobile handset to receive their solicited ads). Utilizing the mobile handset's location determining facility, ad senders, using the Ad Widge, will know when a potential customer, that explicitly wants to know more about their product/service, is within a certain distance from their establishment.
  • [0467]
    This distance may differ for different types of establishments. For a restaurant which has not yet filled out its 6 PM dinner service, the revenue lost by unfilled seats at the 6 PM seating is lost forever, but they don't have time to attract customers who are more than a few miles away. Thus the restaurant will want to send out ads in a radius whereby users could get there in time for the 6 PM seating. So they might broadcast, for instance, via the Internet a location-limited ad, which offers a very local and very timely ad regarding that night's 6 PM dinner service. Ad Widge's location-based advertising also determines if a user is traveling to another city, and businesses in that city can pay the user to accept ads prior to (or upon) the user's arrival in that city.
  • [0468]
    Instead of bombarding users with ads as they near various restaurants, users solicit, via their ComCloud profile broadcast, ads only for, say, That restaurants, or only for restaurants under $25/person.
  • Timely Advertising
  • [0469]
    Ad Widge enables both ad senders and ad recipients to create profiles that set time/date limits for ads sent/received (again with an eye toward most users of the Ad Widge using their mobile handset to receive their solicited ads). For example, it's morning in London: there are a number of plays happening tonight, however not all are sold out. Most patrons/visitors know they can go to the last-minute-tickets booth near the theaters (such as TKTS, which sell discount day-of-performance tickets); however some cannot make it to the booth, but would like to purchase a last minute, discounted ticket. So the users add London theater tickets to their Ad Widge profile, and elect to permit last minute ads.
  • [0470]
    In embodiments the TKTS booth can send out via the Internet an ad for tonight's plays, with a price equivalent to that which patrons could receive if they had the time to show up at the ticket booth. In embodiments a user is made aware of the ad via the users Ad Widge widget on the user's mobile handset. Tickets may be purchased directly via the Ad Widge ad, or online (or other means) from a user's mobile handset via several modalities, including several proprietary methods (such as iDough, Pay by Widge, and Motran).
  • [0471]
    Alternatively, for those with the TKTS widget/ParaSite/Tilz, that widget/ParaSite/Tilz can query the user's Ad Widge profile to detect interest in receiving certain promotions. And the user's Ad Widge profile can be informed by the user's calendar. Are they free this evening? Because a user's Ad Widge profile is on their mobile handset (Mobi), it can interact with the widget in the background. Or even send Ad Widge profile elements (Tilz) to the TKTS main central server, to solicit discount tickets.
  • Product Endorsements
  • [0472]
    Athletes (or other endorsing persons) often take the highest dollar offer amongst competing endorsement deals. Product endorsements, via Ad Widge, can be more closely tied to results. For example, athletes can be paid $1 for each athlete Product Profile Tilz requested, and $4 for each product purchased (via that Tilz). If a customer returns the product, then the $4 sales commission is clawed back. For instance, a user sees a commercial on TV for Air Jordan sneakers. That user then requests the Tilz for Air Jordans. And how long that Tilz is kept on the user's mobile device (Mobi) and how many times they view that Tilz determines whether the athlete receive the full $1 product information commission, or just a fraction of that amount. Ad Widge thereby creates a method to tie the effectiveness of a marketing campaign to actual user interest and actual user purchases.
  • Corporate Uses
  • [0473]
    Corporate uses include the ability to solicit product information (ads) from various suppliers, and for those suppliers to offer discounts. These solicitations can be blind (each supplier only sees the solicitation from the sender, or they can be public (like a reverse auction) so that when a sender requests best prices, say for 500 two by fours, local lumber yards could choose to bid or not, after seeing what other local lumber yards were bidding.
  • Corporate Brand Elements
  • [0474]
    Tilz allow for branded elements to be embedded in them. For example, a document template might have a coporate logo included on it, in exhange for free use of the document template. In such a case, users, via Ad Widge could click on the corporate brand element to solicit an ad related thereto.
  • Small Business Owners
  • [0475]
    For a small business owners such as a local restaurant, marketing efficiency is important. Thus its important to identify users who are likely customers of that type of restaurant, and not spend marketing dollars reaching people who don't like that type of food. For example, for an Indian food restaurant, it may be difficult via conventional means to limit marketing expenses to just those users who like Indian food. With Ad Widge, users may have a restaurant profile which lists all the restaurants the user has dined at. Reviewing restaurant profiles, then being able to reach just those desired users (such as those who have dined at Indian restauarants on more than one occasion, or those who do so more than X times per year) is a powerful advantage that Ad Widge delivers.
  • Custom Versions of Ads
  • [0476]
    Advertisers can create a plurality of customized versions of each ad. For example, for a tire ad, the advertiser might create a version of the ad that appeals to men, another version that appeals to women, and another version that appeals to teenagers who may be future tire customers. In addition, there may be different forms of the ad for all destination formats: “junk mail” delivered to a recipient's home, radio ads, television/set top box ads, website banner ads, and advertising on mobile handsets. Furthermore ads can also be further customized, within each of the destination formats, by the way various people like to receive their information: all text with lots of facts, or visually via a TV ad that explains how a user would feel when using the product, etc. (as per the recipient's preferences profile).
  • [0477]
    As per the conventional art advertisers struggle with how to produce a single ad slogan that appeals to all recipients; when what they might like to do is break down their customers into different groups, and market to each group in a different way. For example, a television commercial for a tire can be the same for all recipients, but using the Invention, the voice-over messaging can be different for the three or four types of users the tire company has identified they have—said messaging delivered to differing users who broadcast their Ad Widge profile to the ad-sending entity.
  • Third Party Profile Integration
  • [0478]
    Ad Widge may import, for instance, TV viewing data from their digital video recorder (DVR) or grocery store club card data, to enhance a user's Ad Widge profile. This imported data may be made available via Ad Widge to advertisers or market research firms, who may in turn, via Ad Widge or otherwise, send ads based upon the user's thusly enhanced Ad Widge profile.
  • Digital Ad Booklets
  • [0479]
    In embodiments Ad Widge can eliminate the millions of paper ad booklets some stores print up and stuff in users' bags at checkout as follows: Users scan the barcode of the proto-booklet available at each point-of-sale (POS) register and aisle caps; The (user profile-sifted) ads for that booklet are transmitted into the user's mobile handset in Tilz format. If the store utilizes certain smart labels for its products, they may have RFID tags built in which can interact with the user's profile as the user walks near the item. Ad Widge can limit the ads sent to the user to just those ad types the user solicited in their Ad Widge profile—so as not to be annoyed by hundreds of ads as the user roams the store's aisles.
  • [0480]
    In embodiments Ad Widge digital ad booklets can be electronically available in many languages as follows: Whenever a user receives a digital ad book, it can be presented via Ad Widge in the user's native language as per the user's preference profile, as opposed to printed booklets which are usually only available, say, in English, due to cost constraints of printing in multiple languages. This feature may be helpful to persons traveling to a foreign country who want information in their native language about the store's products and services.
  • Captive Advertising
  • [0481]
    In embodiments Ad Widge informs captive audience display screens. For example, when a user steps into an elevator or is at a gas station pump featuring an advertising screen, the user's mobile handset may broadcast the user's Ad Widge profile ads may be displayed that the user has solicited. Users can opt to receive additional information that relate to those products/services being advertised. Or the user may scan the barcode/RFID directly from the ad on the screen to receive the information Tilz. In emerging-market countries with limited Internet access, providing a place where users update their profiles/Tilz at a captive location (which might be one of the few places in town which has Internet access) may be crucial.
  • Request More Information About Ads/Shows/Movies Seen on TV
  • [0482]
    Users watching television who see an advertisement for a product they would like more information about can wirelessly submit a Request For Information (RFI) to the product manufacturer via Ad Widge. The response to this RFI can be to send, via Ad Widge, the user an ad, or a brochure in the mail or e-brochure, etc. according to the requester's preference profile (Web Pref). In embodiments the user interacts with the TV via the use of a widget (Tube Widge) that completes a Bluetooth or WiFi or similar handshake and information exchange between the user's mobile handset and the user's TV via means such as the user's DVR, set top box, etc. Identification of the proper ad or show or movie that the user desires more information about is possible for those ads/shows/movies encoded with a digital IP address (IPv21#) or digital barcode (Net Dotz).
  • [0000]
    Patient or Client Communiqués
  • [0483]
    Doctors, for instance, can, via Ad Widge, send informational ads about procedures or tests that the doctor thinks that patient should consider undergoing. Consultants or any vendor with clients can send ads to their existing client base seeking to entice them into purchasing additional products or services. For instance, personal shoppers at fine department stores often keep customer database lists of hundreds or thousands of names. Personal shoppers could send ads with pictures or videos of outfits or accessories that are on sale or would particularly suit a given client demographic, as per users' Ad Widge profiles.
  • New Customer Follow Up
  • [0484]
    The week after a customer makes their first purchase in a store (online or offline) is one of the best times to market to that customer. Retailers, as per users' Ad Widge profile, could send ads to that user's mobile handset in the days following that first purchase to attempt to entice the customer to come back and purchase more of that store's products.
  • Multi Ads
  • [0485]
    Multi ads refers to different ads for different users all watching the same show. For example, four users are sitting on a couch watching the same TV show. During commercial breaks, different commercials are delivered (via means such as WiFi or Bluetooth or other) to each user's mobile handset whereupon they each watch different ads, or different, customized versions of the same/similar ads. Then when the commercial break is over, users return to all watching the same content on the TV.
  • [0486]
    The present Invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the Invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims in addition to all foregoing descriptions. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims and foregoing descriptions are to be embraced within their scope.
  • The Wireless Location-Establishing Device Provides a Platform for Interactive, Multimedia Customized, User-Solicited Coupons
  • [0487]
    A system, method, service and platform for providing interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons are disclosed; which, for example, enable advertisers to better target interested recipients. Via a plurality of means, users create profiles of the objects they utilize in their life. The resultant profile(s) is then made available by the present Invention (“Coupon Widge”) to entities such as those which manufacture or sell said objects. Those entities pay the user to view the user's coupon profile, whereupon said entities make a determination whether or not to pay the user again to send coupons or other information, as per each user's preferences and profiles.
  • [0488]
    Up until now (2002), coupon distribution, usage, redemption, backend accounting, and reimbursement has been inefficient, scattershot, and wasteful of the various resources involved; not to mention a tedious user experience.
  • [0489]
    The present invention (hereafter “Coupon Widge”), is conceived as a response to the above-described deficiencies of the conventional art. With Coupon Widge, the industry shifts to profile-based, digital coupons.
  • [0490]
    Users create profiles of everything in their life. And based upon the facts in those profiles, advertisers/marketers make informed decisions, fact-informed decisions, about getting their coupons, messages (and other data) to customers and potential customers. Coupon Widge's technology enables users to receive just those coupons they want, and get paid to do so.
  • [0491]
    These profiles indicate not only those items the user would like coupons for, but also how, when and where. Coupon Widge enables a number of innovative advertising modalities including: local advertising, location-based advertising, timely advertising, contextual coupons, blended coupons, interest category coupons, behavioral coupons, affinity coupons, intramedia/intrastitial coupons, self-aggregating group coupons, realtime competitive coupons, et. al.
  • [0492]
    Further, Coupon Widge, disintermediates (some) middlemen in the advertising/marketing process; putting advertisers/marketers (often the manufacturer or retailer of a product) in direct one-to-one contact with customers and potential customers. Thus, monies that erstwhile went to middlemen which created profiles of users based upon guesses, can be re-directed to users, who create and surface their fact-based profiles directly to advertising/marketing entities, and are thereby potentially paid to receive information, coupons, offers, and other data.
  • [0493]
    Via a plurality of means, users are in control of the information they receive, including coupons/offers/etc. Coupon Widge is a shield, against information overload.
  • [0494]
    The vast majority of coupons today are unsolicited and irrelevant to the recipient. Accordingly, an improved method of couponing is desirable. Interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons—the present Invention—enables advertisers/marketers to better target interested coupon recipients. And for recipients, the avalanche of paper coupons and online coupons is reduced to a focused stream of coupons for just those products and services recipients are interested in receiving discounts for or more information about.
  • [0495]
    Both coupon issuers and coupon recipients are losers in current couponing modalities. Coupon issuers waste billions of dollars each year sending coupons to recipients with no interest in those coupons. Around 300 billion coupons are issued in the U.S. each year, and almost 1 trillion worldwide.
  • [0496]
    The cost to coupon issuers is anywhere from 1 to 5 cents per coupon (depending upon many factors including volume) to author, design, print, ship, handle and redeem. 99% of this more than $10 billion spent each year is wasted on coupons tossed in the trash or otherwise unredeemed. Accordingly an improved method for delivering and utilizing coupons is desirable.
  • [0497]
    Through the use of digital coupons, the labor-intensive hand-processing of coupon clearing can be reduced or eliminated. And Coupon Widge disintermediates the wasteful middleman-step in the coupon redemption process. Coupon Widge was informed by the transition to the new computing platform, the mobile device (Mobi). For many countries (such as India), digital coupons, especially those delivered to mobile devices, are the best way to reach consumers. Mobile device penetration is higher than for TV or (hardline) Internet. And in India's case there are hundreds of language dialects—a problem much more easily addressed via digital mobile coupons.
  • [0498]
    When Coupon Widge was invented in 2002, mobile, location-based digital couponing was unheard of. Conventional art couponing solutions are mainly focused on the coupon sender rather than the coupon receiver. Users don't want every possible coupon available, they want only those offers as per their profile. In embodiments, user-solicited coupons appear on the user's handset (Mobi) from entities the user wants discounts from. In embodiments, a user's Coupon Widge profile is continuously CloudCast, blocking unwanted coupons and getting paid to accept desired coupons. Rebates, are an ex post facto form of a coupon, and thus are requested and delivered via Coupon Widge. And Coupon Widge does the work of tracking those rebates that often take many weeks to arrive. In embodiments, coupons are electronically delivered to users as per their Coupon Widge profile, thus reducing the unnecessary expense of the billion of coupons printed in newspapers, and Value Packs, and at stores, etc.
  • [0499]
    With Coupon Widge coupons can be multimedia, such as animated characters, or even favorite cartoon or movie characters. Coupons can speak their message: “Today we're featuring 50 cents off Alpo dog food” and can be in the licensed voice of a, say, a movie star. No longer are coupons just a boring slip of paper with a barcode on it.
  • Ads vs Coupons
  • [0500]
    In embodiments, ads are a means of providing consumers more information about the features and benefits of various competing products/services that recipients are deciding among for a future purchase; whereas coupons are a specific financial discount for items that recipients already regularly purchase (and thus typically don't contain product features/benefits information).
  • [0501]
    The Invention is enabled by the current and forthcoming digital technologies such as the Internet, the ever more present digital (and HD) radio, and the proposed digital television broadcasting. It is also enabled by ever more capable mobile handsets—which are defined vis a vis the present Invention, as cellphone-like devices, such as a personal digital assistant (PDA) or other devices/embodiments other than a personal computer (PC) or laptop, that don't necessarily require a monthly contract from a wireless carrier to be a useful device. Those skilled in the art will appreciate, however, that a user may utilize other digital devices that are similar to or different from a mobile handset, featuring wireless carrier service or not; Such devices are consistent with the principles of the Invention, and are thusly encompassed herein by inference.
  • [0502]
    Of the people who don't currently use paper coupons, many don't use them because of the hassle of having to cut them out and carry them around to be available at the time of purchase. Hence the need for digital coupons, and more so, for conveniently delivered digital coupons—say, to the user's mobile handset, which will be with many users during most coupon redemptions.
  • [0503]
    Though in embodiments Coupon Widge can be used by anyone with a computing device and Internet access, it is aimed at users of mobile handsets—and many users may exclusively use their mobile handset to engage and utilize Coupon Widge. Of course, other users may simply utilize other computing devices (or even televisions or other things) that are different from mobile handsets.
  • [0504]
    According to the current coupon process, at plants filled with barcode scanners and sorting machines, coupon processing companies go through the coupons. They then send a bill to each coupon issuer—usually with the coupons attached—seeking reimbursement for the coupons' face value, plus shipping and handling fees. Payments vary. For a 50-cent coupon, the supermarket gets 50 cents back from the manufacturer, and usually a few cents more. That money is split with the processor.
  • [0505]
    Coupon issuers currently pay over $150 million per year to coupon processing companies. For years, coupon processors have run plants in Mexico, so they can hire low-cost labor needed to sort through all the coupons.
  • [0506]
    Coupon issuers and retailers often disagree on reimbursement. Coupon issuers will deny payments arguing, for example, that an offer had expired or that goods weren't sold in the area where the coupon was supposedly redeemed.
  • [0507]
    User-solicited, digital coupons address the shortcomings of the current coupon process.
  • [0508]
    Digital coupons reduce the two most common reasons coupon issuers refuse to reimburse retailers for coupons: the offer had expired—using digital coupons eliminates this problem at the time of redemption by verifying that the coupon has not expired; and the goods weren't sold in the area where the coupon was redeemed—digital coupons presented at the time of the transaction could only be utilized for products that were actually for sale in that area.
  • [0509]
    Before the Internet and the digital media revolution, coupon issuance was a one-way communication. For decades, coupon issuers simply foisted their coupons via junk mail and newspaper inserts on millions of recipients hoping for something like 1% of the recipients to actually be interested enough in the coupon to take action to purchase that product or service being advertised.
  • [0510]
    Increasingly so, recipients are being bombarded not only by junk mail and newspaper insert coupons, but also by online coupons. And the avalanche of coupons is just about to skyrocket as social network advertising (on MySpace, etc.) and mobile handset advertising emerges. Recipients will hardly be able to go for more than a few minutes of their day without being assaulted by unwanted and irrelevant ads/coupons. Additionally, users are becoming increasingly concerned about their privacy, as some of a user's online actions are resulting in so-called targeted ads/coupons. And conventional art “targeted advertising” is evermore intrusive.
  • [0511]
    Unfortunately other advertisers continue to deliver ads/coupons as if the Internet and digital revolution has not taken place. Some offline advertisers use information about ad/coupon recipients gathered from entry forms for contests and warranty postcards. Direct marketing companies create numerous mailing lists based on these keywords or whether someone bought from a particular catalog before. Then for the next 5-10 years users received junk mail (and other forms of ads/coupons) based upon this incomplete, out of date, and often inaccurate profile.
  • [0512]
    Feedback about the relevance/usefulness of coupons was not practical—but it is today. Prior to the Internet there wasn't a cost effective way for people to build their own ad/coupon profile and communicate it directly to marketers (or today's search engines seeking to serve up ads/coupons). But there is today. Yet most marketers ignore this fact, and continue to bombard users with ads/coupons based upon 50 year old marketing techniques.
  • [0513]
    The Internet, mobile handsets, digital radio, and the forthcoming digital television now enable coupon issuers to inexpensively target individual recipients via simple, practical means. It would be preferable for users to give feedback about coupon relevancy. It would also be preferable for users to create their own profiles, either explicitly (by filling out profile checklists) or implicitly (by means such as barcode scanning or RFID interrogation of the objects users utilize in their life—profiles which can be created while online or offline). Coupons can thereby be tied to a user's expressed interests and purchase history, automatically.
  • [0514]
    It would be much better, for example, if marketers had a list of people who have actively indicated an interest in receiving tire coupons. Advertisers could target that much smaller subset of people who are interested in receiving, say, tire coupons, and not annoy potential future customers who don't want to receive tire coupons right now. Instead of marketers bombarding millions of recipients with billions of coupons (a shotgun approach), recipients can, via the Invention, be in charge of the coupons they receive by requesting just those coupons they are interested in (a rifle approach). Various technologies have now evolved to the point where it is simple and practical for couponing, for the first time, to become a two-way ongoing communication between coupon issuer and recipient.
  • [0515]
    Coupon Widge is interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons. When users solicit coupons/information, advertising/couponing entities can shift their focus from the marketing-driven hype of the conventional art, to becoming more effective information delivery vehicles, for users who are actively seeking a discount/information vis a vis a purchase (decision).
  • [0516]
    Interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons enable advertisers to better target interested coupon recipients. Instead of users being bombarded with random coupons, users can, for instance, scan the barcodes/RFID of the items they use in their everyday life to automatically build a profile of items they could really use coupons for.
  • [0517]
    As used herein in connection with the coupons associated with the plurality of embodiments of the Invention, the following terms are defined as:
  • [0000]
    Interactive: users solicit and receive additional information on the item in real-time, as well as rate the relevance/usefulness of that coupon to that user.
    Multimedia: coupons can be digital and/or physical, and digital can include pictures or video (or other things).
    Customized: coupons appear in a format according to the user's preferences, and can offer different discounts and coupon appearances to different users.
    User-solicited: users surface profiles of items for which discounts may be desired, to various coupon-issuing entities, and thereby inform coupons they receive.
    Coupons: coupons, offers, information and other data/content are all encompassed by the term coupon. Rebates are considered to be a form of ex post facto coupons, thus rebates are implicitly included in the Invention.
  • [0518]
    Reference herein to the word “advertisers” shall be understood to encompass advertising, marketing, and/or related/similar entities.
  • [0519]
    The present Invention is described in one or more embodiments in the following description with references to the Figures. While the Invention is described in terms of the primary modes for achieving the Invention's objectives, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the Invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents as supported by the disclosures and drawings herein.
  • [0520]
    A primary purpose of the system, method, service and platform for providing interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons described herein is to reduce inefficiency vis a vis advertising and marketing in general, and more specifically via a vis coupons. The disclosed system, method, service and platform also enable coupon recipients to exert control over and manage the information that is marketed or otherwise sent thereto.
  • [0521]
    Although various embodiments of the Invention extend to any system that operates in accordance with the principles described herein, one embodiment is described in the context of a Website, server software, and widget (Webified mini-software application) that is collectively referred to herein as “Coupon Widge.”
  • [0522]
    According to this embodiment of Coupon Widge, the Website, server software, and widget enable users to create lists/profiles of things they'd like to receive coupons for. Users indicate via a preference profile (Web Pref) the way they'd like their coupons presented (e.g. text-based details, or visually-oriented, on their mobile handset or in the postal mail, etc.) The checkmark list (or profile), among other embodiments, can be created manually or by using their mobile handset to scan barcodes (Net Dotz) of products as they use them, or scan the barcodes of items they come across in stores, on Websites, in TV ads (or other places). Product/service vendors then send users coupons according to user coupon profiles. In addition users may engage in social/business networking with other users via profiles, blogs, chat rooms, and message boards
  • [0523]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge is a software widget that resides on various digital devices (particularly mobile handsets), and enables stores, merchants, service providers, etc. to send coupons and rebates to a user's digital device, based upon the desired-coupon profile set up by the user. Via a plurality of means, including the Coupon Widge Website or directly on the users' digital device via the Coupon Widge widget (downloadable Webified mini software application) users create an electronic profile of the coupons they would like to receive. Advertisers can, if the user's profile allows, view the profile of items for which the user would like to receive coupons. Advertisers then deliver the coupons to the user (customized) as per the user's coupon profile.
  • [0524]
    This profile indicates not only those items the user would like to receive coupons for (e.g. tennis gear, car tires, organic breakfast cereals, etc.) but also how, when, and where the user would like to receive the information. For example a text message on the user's mobile handset, or during a 3 minute detailed advertisement on the user's television between 6 and 8 pm, or a brochure mailed to the user's home. Or users could choose to receive all their coupons digitally on their mobile handset (or other device), which can be used for redemption at the point of purchase, wherein, in some embodiments, the mobile handset (or other device) serves as the payment vehicle as per a variety of modalities.
  • [0525]
    Via their Coupon Widge profile users may also elect to allow coupons from competitors of products in their Coupon Profile—competitors pay the user for the right to try to entice them to switch products (in embodiments via modalities such as realtime bidding). After all it is the users time and money that is sought: The user's time, to review the info/coupons/offers/etc.; and ultimately it is the user's money that is sought by the advertiser/marketer (often to purchase the advertiser's/marketer's product/service).
  • [0526]
    Advertisers/marketers already pay, to get their coupons/offers/information/etc. to users—they pay middlemen such as search engines, Internet tracking companies, and/or market research firms, et. al. With Coupon Widge, users and potential users make their interest in more information about a product known via their profile broadcast, without need for middlemen to guess which users might be interested in an advertiser's coupons/offers/information/et. al. Thus advertisers can save those monies paid to get their messaging to users who weren't interested in receiving it, and further redirect monies that were paid to middlemen to guess which users want which coupons/offers/information/et. al.; instead, potentially paying fees to users directly, in exchange for the value the user provided in surfacing their profile.
  • [0527]
    In those instances where payments are non-zero, users can further control the amount of coupons/offers/information/et. al. they receive, by setting a minimum fee to receive, read and review the coupons/offers/information/et. al. That is to say, the senders of such material must pay the user an amount equal to or exceeding the user's minimum fee to even send the user such material.
  • [0528]
    FIG. 23 illustrates one of the Invention's most important principles: profiles=currency. Coupon Widge simplifies and automates the process whereby users create, manage and monetize their profiles. And these profiles have value. There are many companies, for instance, which would pay, literally, to view a user's profiles 2202.
  • [0529]
    Consider a case where all users create and broadcast all their profiles 2202 to all the appropriate entities at all times. Then, for example, the local movie theater could simply view the movie profiles 2205 of all movie goers in say a 20 mile radius of the movie theater, when making decisions such as which movies to acquire the rights to show in their theater. Such profile-based, fact-based decision making is far superior to the so-called analytics programs which harvest vast amounts of information, and apply complex algorithms, in the hopes of teasing out a few valuable (accurate) nuggets of information. And ad-sending entities pay a great deal of money for such information, weak though it may be, gleaned via such means.
  • [0530]
    That's why user's fact-based profiles are so valuable to so many entities. In practice, for example, a user reading the Sunday paper, and scanning an ad for a movie they'd like to see may get paid 2022, via Coupon Widge, almost instantaneously by entities 2107 such as those that can provide the movie to the user 2108-2113 and coupons/offers/information/et. al. related thereto. Scan the ad, and shortly thereafter, the user gets paid. Perhaps only a few pennies (or even fractions thereof) in some embodiments, but the tectonic shift in the advertising landscape may be appreciated by those skilled in the art.
  • [0531]
    Users create a profile of coupons they are willing to receive, primarily through barcode/RFID scanning of products they utilize (as well as by other means). Alternatively users can indicate they are willing to let any entity send a coupon—on any subject—if the sender pays the user (a minimum price set by the user). Each user can set their own prices to receive coupons. Users also decide if they want to get paid by advertisers or market research firms (or other entities) to view the user's Coupon Widge profile. Cumulative totals and/or frequency of various items purchased is valuable information that the user's profile contains. And beyond just frequency information, there is specific purchase information. For example, a user's profile might indicate a user purchased grated Parmesan cheese 18 times in the past year. But beyond that is much more granular information such as: What sizes of bags (8 ounce or jumbo 32 ounce)? Which brands? Re-sealable pouches or vacuum packed bags? Which stores were they purchased at? What payment modalities were utilized? et. al. The user gets paid by market research companies and manufacturers (and other entities) to view the user's Coupon Widge profile which contains such valuable detailed information.
  • [0532]
    Coupon Widge delivers solutions for both paper and electronic coupons. Paper coupons' barcodes can be scanned thus enabling the user, via Coupon Widge, to automatically receive that coupon's discount at checkout, including when paying via mobile device (Mobi). Users can also scan items while shopping in a store, and if their Coupon Widge profile allows, receive instant electronic coupons for those products or even competing products. Coupon Widge enables a two-way ongoing communication and relationship between coupon issuer and user.
  • [0533]
    The Invention's interests are aligned with users. Coupon Widge only gets paid, when users get paid 2303, 2304. Unlike traditional companies, such as leading search companies, which in many cases get paid, even when neither party to a transaction (buyer and seller) are happy with the value received. Traditional middlemen, such as leading search companies, add to the cost of goods (collecting, say, $30 on “refrigerator” searches, during the 10 years a user owns a fridge, happens to do searches on fridges, but isn't at the time in the market for a refrigerator). Ultimately, search companies drives up users' costs twice: 1) the cost of goods that the user eventually pays for is $30 higher; and 2) privacy costs, as entities such as leading search companies spy on users, to obtain the data used as fodder for their algorithmic guesses as to what a user might actually be in the market for.
  • [0534]
    An unique advantage of Coupon Widge is that coupons/offers/information/et. al. sent to users are based upon the best, most accurate and most comprehensive profiles available—those maintained by the users themselves. Any profile created by a third party is inferior to a user-created and managed profile; because, ipso facto, the only witness, for example, to every single movie a user consumes, by any and all modalities, is the user himself. If a user's movie profile is maintained by a third party such as the user's television service provider, the television service provider only bears witness to those movies the user consumes via the television service provider. Therefore, anytime the user consumes a movie, not via the user's television service provider, the television service provider's movie profile for that user becomes a bit less accurate, a bit less comprehensive and therefore a bit less valuable.
  • [0535]
    The same is true for other third parties which base their advertising systems upon profiles that third parties create of users; such third party profiles are less accurate, less comprehensive and less valuable, than profiles created by users themselves. This is a crucial point: all other forms of advertising prior to the present Invention, rely in some form or another on third party profiles of users. Thus all prior forms of advertising are inferior to Coupon Widge's system and method wherein users create, and manage, and monetize their profiles.
  • [0536]
    Therefore in preference to flooding recipients with a plethora of coupons, which are often of interest to only a tiny fraction of recipients, users create profiles of everything that matters to them. Said profiles are selectively, as per users' preferences, surfaced to coupon-sending entities by Coupon Widge. Coupon-sending entities (may) pay the user to review the relevant profiles, and thereby determine if they wish to send coupons/offers/information/et. al. to the user, and if so, coupon-sending entities (may) pay the user again for the user's time to review same.
  • [0537]
    Coupon-sending entities can, likewise, create profiles of their own via Coupon Widge (or otherwise). For instance, their profile might be of each of the products they manufacture, stores that retail those products, and entities that perform repairs, technical support and/or related services for said products. Once these profiles are created, coupon-sending entities can engage the Invention service which automatically matches their product profiles with those users seeking more information, possibly including coupons, about that same, or similar, product.
  • [0538]
    Once a profile match has been effected, coupon-sending entities then review, either manually with live personnel, or via a computer-based system which might employ various algorithmic facilities, a user's preference profile which includes preferences as to how, when and where a user would like to receive any coupons/offers/information/et. al. and a fee schedule detailing the minimum prices (which might be zero) a user is willing to accept, to receive said coupons/offers/information/et. al.
  • [0539]
    If the coupon-sending entity determines it is advantageous to proceed, coupons/offers/information/et. al. are delivered by the company itself, third parties, or via Coupon Widge.
  • [0540]
    In embodiments, Coupon Widge coupons are delivered via Tilz (data tiles), which are transactable objects, and therefore enable users to purchase directly from the coupons, even offline coupons. For offline coupons, users scan the (Net Dotz Internet Protocol IP) barcodes, which, in embodiments, results in coupon Tilz being downloaded to the user's mobile device. Tilz are transactable objects which enables the user to make purchases therefrom. The user's Coupon Widge profile includes user-selectable options, such as the ability for users to choose to allow coupons from competing products. For example, if a user utilizes Tide detergent, then the user has the Tide Tilz in their Coupon Widge profile. If they allow coupons from competing products, such as in this case Cheer detergent, then Cheer detergent is allowed to pay the user to send coupons. Competitors pay the user for the right to entice them to switch products.
  • [0541]
    Coupon Widge is simple to use for product and service providers. In embodiments, they just post all forms and variations of their coupon, and Coupon Widge pulls the appropriate Tilz to each user. So for instance, Coupon Widge can facilitate the placement or population of the coupons (Tilz) the user sees/receives when watching TV, or in their (digital) newspaper or magazine (or other).
  • [0542]
    The Invention employs and incorporates many unique technologies, such as the ability to incorporate video into digital coupons, wirelessly redeem a digital or paper coupon during a payment transaction, purchase the product/item directly from the coupon—even offline coupons—and facilitate realtime auctions for competitive coupons to those which the user is in the act of utilizing (such as at a bricks and mortar store or while shopping online), as per the detailed descriptions below.
  • [0543]
    Having generally described operation of the systems and methods for profile based coupons, various embodiments will be described with respect to FIGS. 20-29. Referring to the accompanying drawings wherein the same reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements:
  • [0544]
    FIG. 20 shows an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of an interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons system, method, service, and platform in accordance with the Invention which is designated generally as system 2000.
  • [0545]
    System 2000, hereafter “Coupon Widge,” represents an embodiment of the system, method, service and platform by which a user creates profiles of things, which in turn inform the coupons, offers, information and other data the user receives regarding same. The nucleus of the Coupon Widge platform centers around client and server software 2014, but which more generally consists of a plurality of computer applications, devices, components, facilities, and systems, as well as a plurality of data facilities, including various data sources and data acquisition facilities. The foregoing may be centrally located or geographically dispersed, may be locally and/or remotely interconnected, and may consist of distinct components or be integrated into combined systems. In the illustrated embodiment, the Coupon Widge platform 2000 architecture facilitates the processing of user-initiated queries entered into a query entry system functioning in conjunction, for example, with a barcode reading facility 2003 on the user's 2001 mobile device 2002. The mobile device may process the results of this query locally via client software, or transmit the results of this query to a remote server software system 2014 for further processing and/or routing to data sources and/or processing facilities, such as one or more servers, such as HTTP servers or other servers that are suitable for handling data that are transmitted over computer networks.
  • [0546]
    In embodiments, a plurality of profile acquisition facilities are available including barcode scanning facility 2003 (which may include a laser-based barcode scanner or other barcode scanning means), RFID interrogator facility 2004, network or Internet-based facilities 2005, peer-to-peer facilities 2006, among other profile acquisition modalities 2007. Profiles consist of tiles (or other units) of data about things, hereafter “tiles” or its homonym “Tilz.” The user 2001 acquires a Tilz about something, such as a product (it is understood that the Invention applies not just to products, but also to people, animate and inanimate objects, ideas, et. al.), by one or more of the aforementioned facilities/modalities. Via a vis scanning the barcode 2003 of the product or interrogating the RFID 2004 tag of a product, a Tilz may be returned directly, or indirectly via means wherein the query returns the Internet Protocol (IP) address where more information, the Tilz, may be found for that product. (Other Invention embodiments not involving barcode/RFID facilities are conceived wherein the same or similar data gathering and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites or other means.) Users may also acquire Tilz via network or inter-network (Internet) 2005 means, such as pointing a browser to the Webpage wherefrom Tilz for that product may be downloaded or otherwise acquired. Additionally, users may also acquire Tilz for the product via peer-to-peer 2006 means, such as via Bluetooth from, for example, another user who already has the desired Tilz for that product, say on their mobile device. Other peer-to-peer embodiments such as, but not limited to, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions, facilitated by any number of communication modalities, may be utilized to acquire a Tilz about a particular product. Other modalities 2007 are contemplated, consistent with the principles of the Invention. And further, other embodiments not involving Tilz are conceived wherein the same or similar data tracking and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites (or other means).
  • [0547]
    Once a user has acquired 2002 one or more Tilz about an object, the resultant Tilz, which is the profile of that object, is presented to the Invention's client and/or server software, for sorting into profiles 2008, which consist of logical groups and/or subgroups of one or more Tilz. FIG. 20 illustrates several sample user profiles including the user's movie profile 2009, wine profile 2010, travel profile 2011, groceries profile 2012, and other profiles 2013.
  • [0548]
    A user's profiles 2008, are then presented to the Coupon Widge client/server software 2014 which in embodiments may include profile matching algorithm facilities 2015, user profile database/storage facilities 2016, ad profile creation facilities 2017, ad profile management facilities 2018, ad serving/provisioning facilities 2019, ad storage facilities 2020, transaction facilities 2021, payment facilities 2022, security facilities 2023, internal rules facilities 2024, external rules facilities 2025, analytics facilities 2026 and/or other facilities. One or more of the foregoing facilities then processes the incoming/active profile, by a variety of means not limited to extracting keywords and metadata from the constituent Tilz containing that object's profile.
  • [0549]
    For each profile 2008 submitted to Coupon Widge, the user makes selections (or chooses to accept automatic defaults or system 2000 generated recommendations) regarding what types of data the user would like to receive, or not receive, vis a vis that profile. Granularity of data control extends to the individual Tilz within a profile. Additional choices regarding data reception control include, but are not limited to how, when and where users receive information about the product. (Incoming information about a product is hereinafter assumed to be received via data tiles or Tilz.) The types of data a user may wish to receive regarding a product include but are not limited to coupons, offers, information, or other data/content.
  • [0550]
    For example, a user who just bought 50 items at a grocery store may scan the barcode at the bottom of the user's receipt, and thereby automatically receive a Tilz for each and every item they purchased. These grocery item Tilz may then be sorted into the user's groceries profile 2012. If the user only eats Wheaties cereal, the user may elect to block, REJECT, any competing cereal coupons (which might annoy the user, who only purchases and eats Wheaties). However, a user who is a buyer of Minute Maid orange juice, and is open to receiving orange juice coupons may therefore set their Coupon Widge preference profile regarding orange juice coupons to ACCEPT.
  • [0551]
    Users may fine tune, set the granularity of, or otherwise adjust Accept/Reject criteria via the internal rules facility 2024 or other facilities. Internal rules 2024 (such as those set by the user) and external rules 2025 (such as those set by wireless carriers, and/or other third parties) are applied to user's profiles and affect various aspects of coupon delivery and presentation. Examples of rules that can be set manually (by the user) or automatically (by Coupon Widge's algorithm facilities 2015) include: 1) How, when, where to receive coupons (for instance certain types of multimedia coupons should be delivered to a user's TV from 7-9 PM on weeknights, other types of coupons are to be delivered via car radio while the user is driving home from work; and still other coupons are to be delivered to the user's handset at any time); and 2) Coupon reminders: 36 months from now start tire coupons. Coupon Widge can log the date the user purchased/installed new tires, and, if the user wishes, blocks tire coupons until the user is likely to be in the market again for tires. Conventional targeted advertising fails miserably in this regard: if a user purchases new tires today, then that user doesn't need to see tire coupons for, say, 3 years or 36,000 miles. And though the user isn't in the market for tires, that user may in fact use the word “tires” in the meantime, say in an email. Yet a conventional “targeted” advertising approach would likely serve that user tire-related coupons (wasting the user's time, and the advertiser's money) during those 3 years.
  • [0552]
    Once one or more profiles has been processed, Coupon Widge 2014 makes one or more profiles available to select entities 2028 via a user profile broadcast 2027, hereafter “ComCloud” aka “commerce communications cloud” (or other means). A user's ComCloud may be broadcast by a plurality of modalities including Bluetooth, WiFi, wireless carrier network, Internet, infrared (IrDA), and/or other available means. For example, a user walking downtown along the sidewalk FIG. 29, may choose to have Coupon Widge broadcast the user's ComCloud 2903 (such a broadcast is referred to herein as a “CloudCast”) via Bluetooth in such a manner that Coupon Widge acts as a shield against information overload; a number of businesses 2907, 2908, 2909 along the user's path, may wish to send coupons 2904, 2905, 2906 via WiFi to the user's mobile handset, however Coupon Widge 2910 can block the undesired coupons, and accept just those the user wishes.
  • [0553]
    In embodiments, Coupon Widge matches the profiles of various entities 2028, against the user's profiles 2016, seeking matches for content (info/coupons/et. al.) desired by the user against content available by the entity. Such entities may include, manufacturing entities 2029 (such as the manufacturer of Minute Maid orange juice), retail entities 2030 (such as grocery stores), advertising/marketing entities 2031 (such as ad buying agencies or market research firms), other users 2032 (who may, for example, share a similar profile), and/or other entities 2033 (who may, for example, share a similar profile).
  • [0554]
    In other embodiments, where entity profiles are not made directly available to Coupon Widge, Coupon Widge searches other sources such as existing online profiles/data, and performs (profile) matching against same.
  • [0555]
    Once one or more matches has been established, Coupon Widge, as per the user's profile preferences, makes the user's profile available to the selected entity, for free or for a fee 2022 (which the user receives a portion of). Based upon the user's profile, the entity then decides whether or not to pay 2022 to send the user coupons/offers/information/et. al. as per the user's preference profile. If the payment amount is non-zero, the user receives a portion of said monies.
  • [0556]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that entities already pay to get their coupons/information to users; they pay middlemen entities, which make guesses as to which users might be interested in that entity's coupons. Middlemen currently peddle profiles based upon guesses (often obtained by spying on users' online activities), and those guess-based profiles are sufficiently valuable that coupon-sending entities pay middlemen to acquire such guess-based profiles. With Coupon Widge, guesses about what users want/need are replaced by facts, from users, who create, manage and monetize their own profiles—automatically via Coupon Widge. With Coupon Widge, coupon-sending entities no longer need to guess which customers and potential customers to reach and how to reach them. And since customers and potential customers instead manifest their profiles directly, via Coupon Widge, to such entities, middlemen may be disintermediated. Thus, in a logical value-for-value transaction, users are paid for the inherent value of their profiles, which because they are based-upon actual products/services a user actually utilizes, are more accurate, and thus more valuable, than the guess-based profiles from middlemen common to the conventional art.
  • [0557]
    For example, the orange juice user might (be paid to) receive a coupon from Minute Maid, which thereby hopes to convince the user to stay loyal to Minute Maid. However, if the user sets their Coupon Widge preferences 2018 to accept coupons/offers/information/et. al. 2019 from competing entities, the user might be paid 2022 to receive a coupon from a Minute Maid competitor, such as Florida's Best orange juice, which thereupon presents discounts/information in their coupon endeavoring to cause the user to switch brands.
  • [0558]
    Users 2000, via Coupon Widge 2014, interact with coupon-sending entities 2028 via their profile broadcast 2027. Examining the user's profile 2016 enables coupon-sending entities 2028 to customize the coupons. And coupon-sending entities send coupons 2019 to users who solicit same vis a vis their Coupons Widge profile preferences 2018. Hence the present Invention: interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons 2000.
  • [0559]
    FIG. 21 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein a user 2101 scans 2103 a movie ad in a newspaper 2117, whereupon the user's movie profile 2105 is updated, and thereby the movie-providing entities 2107 send coupons, offers, and information 2114 per the user's profile 2115. For example, a user 2101 reading the Sunday newspaper is looking through the movie section and comes upon an ad 2117 for a movie the user wants to see “The Godfather.” In embodiments the user 2101 utilizes the user's mobile handset 2102 to scan the IP-based barcode on the ad 2117 for “The Godfather.” The IP-barcode includes the IP address where more information about the movie “The Godfather” can be found, and returns that information to the user's Ad Widge in the form of a data tile (a Tilz). This Tilz may include information such as theater times near the user, prices for DVDs in various store near the user, dates when the this movie will be available on a premium channel such as HBO, et. al. The Tilz users receive are customized based upon the profile of the person scanning the ad.
  • [0560]
    In embodiments the Coupon Widge algorithm facility 2015 may process the received Tilz by heuristic methods that utilize information within the metadata appurtenant to the Tilz. The algorithm facility 2015 may then promote or demote individual elements comprising the user's list of names of profiles, in order to proffer to the user the name of the suggested profile to place “The Godfather” Tilz in. After receiving the user's query response, which might include the user choosing a profile other than the one suggested by Coupon Widge, or manually creating a new profile category, “The Godfather” Tilz is sorted 2104 into the desired profile, the user's movie profile 2105. Coupon Widge then presents 2107 the user's movie profile 2105 to appropriate entities 2108, 2109, 2110, 2111, 2112, 2113, such as those entities which can supply the user the movie “The Godfather.” Said entities then review the user's movie profile to determine if they would like to interact/transact with the user—a purported movie goer. For those entities 2108, 2109, 2110, 2111, 2112, 2113 that determine that the user 2101 is a party to whom they wish to advertise (or otherwise interact with or send information, et. al. to), those entities then send coupons, offers, information, et. al 2114 as per the user's profile 2115.
  • [0561]
    For example, the first place a user can usually experience a particular movie is in the theater, so movie theaters 2108 near the user, which are playing the movie the user wants to see, might pay the user to send an coupon that also touts that theater's high-end audio systems. Or another theater might make the user the following offer: purchase a movie ticket, and for just $7 more, the user can receive a download (the DVD Tilz) of the movie they are watching, while they are watching the movie, via Bluetooth or other means to the user's mobile handset. The next place a user can usually consume a movie is on pay-per-view. Pay-per-view may be offered by the user's television service provider, which can make a customized offer or discount coupon to the user to watch the movie. Next stores near the user that sell DVDs 2110 may wish to send coupons to this movie going user, to entice the user to come in and purchase the DVD in their store—which enticement may be sweetened by a customized offer. Next online stores that sell DVDs 2111 may make offers to the user. Next premium channels such as HBO may make offers or send coupons to the user; followed by other entities that can provide the movie desired by the user may wish to send coupons/offers/information/et. al. to the user.
  • [0562]
    It should be noted that a user's profile 2105 may include a preference for accepting coupons/offers/information/et. al. from related parties—in this case, say from food vendors, for delicious snacks and/or refreshing beverages that the user may wish to enjoy while watching the movie.
  • [0563]
    Finally, the Tilz that users receive are transactable objects, and thus users can make purchases directly from coupons, even offline coupons. In embodiments, users scan an offline coupon 2117 in a newspaper, and receive the Tilz for that product. That data tile (Tilz) may include profile-based links to one or more Websites where the user can purchase the product. Alternatively, the Tilz itself may include the ability to purchase the product. This functionality may be informed by the use of third party servers or Websites. Such use however, may not be apparent to the user as per the Coupon Widge graphical user interface, in order to provide a more user-friendly streamlined shopping experience. Order fulfillment may be effected by interface to, for instance, the product manufacturer/distributor/retailer's e-commerce Website (or other order fulfilling entity or process).
  • [0564]
    FIG. 22 is a functional block diagram illustrating a depiction of a user's coupon profile 2201, and the constituent elements therein 2202; in addition to a depiction of an embodiment of a simple schematic illustrating the functional relationships between the user 2211 and the product and service providers 2216 who wish to advertise 2215 to the user, and highlights the role that the Invention's client-side coupon profile matching facility 2213 plays in the process; in this case via the user's mobile handset 2212.
  • [0565]
    Coupon Widge is a real world coupon/information platform. Life takes place in the real world, via, for instance, interaction with the real world objects a person actually utilizes in their life. To that end, the Coupon Widge platform is accessible by devices such as mobile handsets 2203, which, pending a compelling blend of hardware/services, may emerge as the next primary computing platform, and represent the first computing platform which a user might have on their person during their every waking hour. A user's profiles can live on the user's devices, not just on the Internet or other servers. Thus, the Coupon Widge client-side software, which resides on the user's digital device of choice, enables users to create profiles 2202 as well as broadcast (CloudCast) 2204 profiles 2202 therefrom. Such profiles may include things such as: Profiles of the items they want to buy; Profiles of the types of people they want to date; Profiles of their appliances, which at some point will inevitably need replacing/repair; Profiles of those items they are performing searches for; And so on. With Coupon Widge, users interact with the profiles of others, objects, entities to get what they want/need, with far less time and effort.
  • [0566]
    In embodiments users CloudCast 2204 their Coupon Widge profile 2201 directly from their mobile handset 2203 via means such as Bluetooth, or peer-to-peer via various means (such as infrared IrDA), wireless carrier network, or other means (such as via the Internet). Thus as the user moves about in their real life, they can be constantly adding to and updating the profiles 2202 vis a vis the things they utilize in their life, and thereby constantly benefit by this realtime profile. Via Coupon Widge users essentially carry around their wants and needs (in the form of profiles), and have wants and needs met, with far less effort than as per the conventional art.
  • [0567]
    Even if a user's profiles 2202 are created and hosted locally, for instance on a user's mobile handset 2212, users can also have their profiles stored and matched via (and broadcast from) a remote server (or other device) via the Internet 2214 (or other means). User profiles can even be stored and matched on other devices such a user's PC or TV (and broadcast therefrom via a plurality of communication modalities). Multi-nodal profile synchronization can be performed manually by the user or automatically by Coupon Widge as per various rules 2024, 2025.
  • [0568]
    Companies (product and service providers 2216, including product manufacturers and retailers, as well as various advertising/marketing entities) can view user profiles 2202 and make decisions manually, or companies can create and surface their own profiles, optionally utilizing Coupon Widge, and have their profiles automatically matched in realtime 2213 with other entities/objects/people/companies/et. al. with whom they might want to share/exchange/deliver coupons/offers/information/et. al. 2215. A user's profile 2201, is matched against profiles of various companies, entities, objects, etc. 2216 and can receive information/coupons/offers/et. al. from same. Coupon Widge surfaces, for example, the user's movie profile 2205 to appropriate entities 2216, such as those entities that can supply the movie to this user. Appropriate entities may also, or alternatively, subscribe to a user's profile and thereby receive realtime or asynchronous updates for free or for a fee (as opposed to being notified manually by Coupon Widge, or being notified manually of a profile match from a prospective customer for a product/service that entity provides). Appropriate entities may subscribe to a user's entire profile 2202, or just selected elements, such as a user's clothing profile 2209.
  • [0569]
    Other embodiments of various interaction modalities between coupon senders and coupon receivers pursuant to the principles of the Invention are also envisioned.
  • [0570]
    FIG. 23 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of example process steps followed by coupon-sending entities 2305 as they first pay 2303 a user 2301 to view and review a user's profile 2306, to thereby determine if it's advantageous to pay 2304 to send the user coupons 2312; and further consider paying additional monies 2304 for priority data placement 2313 (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user is paid; as opposed to paying a middleman/search entity).
  • [0571]
    In embodiments, via Coupon Widge 2302, the user's profiles 2201 created as per FIG. 20, are made available to coupon-sending entities, who pay 2305 the user 2301 for the rights to examine and evaluate 2306 said profiles. Advertisers may pay the user a one time fee, for access to the user's profiles for a fixed amount of time, or may subscribe to the user's profiles as per a fixed or ongoing periodical fee structure. Based upon the profile information, advertisers then decide 2307 if it is advantageous to pay the user to send ads to said user. If not 2308, then advertisers may offer to send coupons for free. Users may interact with advertisers directly or let Coupon Widge negotiate 2311 on behalf of the user. In this case Coupon Widge sets flag to ACCEPT for the subject coupon if the user has set their preference profile MIN_CHARGE (minimum charge) to zero. If not the subject coupon profile flag is set to REJECT.
  • [0572]
    In the case where the coupon-sending entity considers it advantageous to send this user coupons, which sets a transaction flag to PROCEED, Coupon Widge then presents the coupon-sending entity with the user's MIN_CHARGE fee. For any given profile, vis a vis setting the MIN_CHARGE, users may set the fee manually or let Coupon Widge set the fee. Coupon Widge may set the fee based upon a plurality of factors, including but not limited to comparing MIN_CHARGE fees for other users with a profile similar to the subject user, for the same or similar products (which may be derived by, among other means, matching product metadata tags).
  • [0573]
    At this point 2309, the coupon-sending entity is either willing or unwilling to meet the user's MIN_CHARGE. If so, the transaction flag is set to PROCEED, and the coupon-sending entity pays the user to send coupons 2312. If not, the coupon-sending entity may negotiate 2310 with the user, via Coupon Widge 2311, a lower price to PROCEED. Again, the user may either manually accept this lower price (in response to a query from Coupon Widge) or allow Coupon Widge to negotiate on behalf of the user, as per the above description. If no agreement on price is reached the transaction flag is set to STOP, and after providing both parties a receipt for the failed transaction, the transaction flag is set to END. The transaction receipt detail includes information regarding the profile in question, and the amounts one or both parties was willing to pay/accept for review of same, including the DIFF difference amount that caused the transaction to END.
  • [0574]
    For those situations where a coupon-sending entity is offering an amount less than the user is willing to accept Coupon Widge may negotiate 2311 on the user's behalf if the user has set a DIFF percentage, by which means Coupon Widge may accept/reject a proposed profile review fee from an advertiser; for example, a user may set a MIN_CHARGE of X monetary units/credits, but set a DIFF percentage of 10%, enabling Coupon Widge to accept a bid of 0.9X, or more, monetary units/credits. (Other embodiments are envisioned wherein ParaSites negotiates on a user's behalf without necessarily setting a DIFF percentage).
  • [0575]
    Understanding that a user may receive several coupons from several different coupon-sending entities, a coupon-sending entity may wish to promote its coupon to the top of the stack. In which case the coupon-sending entity pays the user a premium fee to the user for priority data placement 2313. The process for setting and agreeing to the priority data placement fee can be effected via a number of modalities consistent with the principles of the Invention, including an auction. In the case of an auction, in embodiments, Coupon Widge presents each of the coupon-sending entities a dataset, which details the order in which Coupon Widge will be presenting the coupons to the user. Coupon Widge informs the coupon-sending entities that Coupon Widge is accepting bids, consisting of additional monetary units/credits, for top priority vis a vis the ordered list detailing the order in which Coupon Widge will present the coupons to the user. After receiving all the bids (for which a TIME_LIMIT may be set), Coupon Widge re-sets the priority order in which the coupons are presented to the user according the #1 position to the highest bidder, the #2 position to the second highest bidder, and so on. Equal bid amounts are ordered as per various factors including according higher priority to bids received before other bids.
  • [0576]
    In embodiments, if and when a fee amount is accepted both by parties, for any of the above described or other cases, payment is effected by the payment facility 2022, 2303, 2304, with Coupon Widge 2302 receiving a portion of the monies/credits. (Coupon Widge only gets paid, when users get paid). Payments start at zero. Only when a user proves to the satisfaction of the coupon-sending entity, does the user 2301 receive a non-zero payment amount.
  • [0577]
    FIG. 24 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique coupon management facility, wherein coupons/offers/information/et. al. 2402, 2403, 2404, a user receives are received in thumbnail tiles (Tilz) that are mapped onto (in this case) a sphere 2401; whereupon the sphere information management facility (hereafter “Spherez”) attracts like content to it, for which the user may be paid directly by the coupon-sending entity, for prominent placement on the user's topic-specific information spheres (Spherez).
  • [0578]
    It may be appreciated by those skilled in the art, that fields such as search are becoming inextricably linked to advertising (and the coupons that result therefrom), and thus embodiments that relate to search/advertising warrant exploration.
  • [0579]
    With Coupon Widge users can, for the first time, actually actively manage their coupons 2402, 2403, 2404, 2406, 2407, 2408. And with Coupon Widge Spherez, coupons achieve a unique level of capability and usability—thus making coupons far more valuable to users—literally making users lives better. For example, if a user's microwave oven is 10 years old, and needs replacing, the user, in embodiments, scans the barcode/RFID of their microwave oven to receive the data tile 2402 (Tilz) on their mobile handset. The received Tilz is mapped onto an information navigation facility called a Spherez 2401, which appears on the user's mobile handset screen. Spherez 2401 enable users to manage the coupons/offers/information/et. al. they receive.
  • [0580]
    As per the conventional art, a user who needed to replace their microwave oven would most likely sit down at their PC, and utilize a search engine to seek out information about microwave ovens. In fact, as per the conventional art, users often have to become a mini-expert when they need to accomplish something: find a reliable plumber to fix the leaking kitchen sink, figure out how to increase their child's chances of getting into the desired nursery school, or in this case, find a replacement for their aging microwave oven. As per the conventional art a user is likely to take a significant deal of time, trying to learn about microwave ovens: what's new since the user last purchased a microwave?; which manufacturer's are reliable?; should the user purchase the microwave online or at a local store near the user? (taking into account such issues such as product returns and repairs).
  • [0581]
    And as step #1, which ovens are right for me? As per the conventional art, a user would likely have to try to locate a tape measure, then go into their kitchen attempt to measure the dimensions of the opening of their cabinetry in which their current microwave resides. At which point the user realizes the microwave also provides the cooktop ventilation. The user may scribble down all this information on a piece of paper, which they have to take back to their PC utilize as the starting point for a long and rambling search for suitable replacement microwaves.
  • [0582]
    During the conventional art search process (which is funded by the appurtenant advertising, such as paid search), the user's time is being expended, and monies are being made by the search provider. Monies paid to search providers increase the costs of goods. Product makers build their marketing/advertising costs into the price of their products. Therefore every dollar that goes into a search engine's pocket is ultimately a dollar taken out of a user's pocket.
  • [0583]
    With Coupon Widge other entities take their time supplying information to the user, and it is the user who gets paid.
  • [0584]
    The Tilz 2402 for the user's microwave oven, contains the profile for the user's microwave oven. With Coupon Widge users don't have to become a mini-expert for all the problems they need to solve during the course of their regular life. With Coupon Widge, the user doesn't have to research the dimensions of their microwave, or try to discover the power requirements, or if it is a combination microwave/cooktop vent model. The user doesn't need to know any such details. In embodiments the user, via Coupon Widge, simply indicates that their microwave oven needs replacement and drags the Tilz for their old microwave oven from the blocked coupons (REJECT) profile, to the seeking coupons (ACCEPT) profile. And, in embodiments, within seconds, two things happen: the user starts receiving profile-informed coupons/information, and the user gets paid to receive same.
  • [0585]
    Only those entities which manufacture microwaves that fit the proper dimensions, and include required functionality (such a cooktop venting) send coupon Tilz or offer Tilz or information Tilz to the user. And only those bricks and mortar stores near the user send the user coupons, hoping to convince the user to purchase the microwave at their store.
  • [0586]
    If a manufacturer made a microwave oven that did not include the cooktop venting function (and thus would not meet the user's needs) were to send the user a coupon or information Tilz, it would be a waste of that company's time and money (as the user won't be buying their product) thus they are automatically disincentivized from bombarding the user with coupons.
  • [0587]
    In response to the newly flagged ACCEPT condition vis a vis microwave ovens in the user's Coupon Widge profile, the user may start to receive additional coupons/offers/information/et. al. 2403, 2404 presently. The Spherez maps these Tilz onto the sphere in such a way as to site the most closely matched responses as close as possible to the key position 2402 on the Spherez—currently occupied by the Tilz 2402 for the user's current microwave. Coupon Widge's profile matching algorithm facilities 2015 compare the profile of the incoming Tilz to the user's current microwave and place the best matches 2403, 2404 as close as possible to the key Tilz for the user's microwave 2402.
  • [0588]
    Alternatively if the user's Coupon Widge profile allows, coupon-sending entities can pay the user for premium data placement 2313 on the Spherez 2401 (a variation on paid search advertising wherein the users get paid, as opposed to the search engine middlemen as per the conventional art).
  • [0589]
    Several other aspects of the Coupon Widge information navigation modalities are worth noting. First, Spherez is just one of an essentially limitless number of possible embodiments for coupons/offers/information/et. al. presentation. Instead of spheres they may be cubes, or any shape the user desires. Third parties may build other Coupon Widge information navigation modalities (templates) for anyone to use, either for free or for a fee.
  • [0590]
    Spherez are a convenient navigation modality for the smaller screen size of the mobile handset (and work well with a touchscreen wherein the user can navigate the Spherez by flicking with their finger which causes the Spherez to spin, and thereby reveal the desired Tilz). Users on a mobile handset may prefer a handful of relevant search results (as per Coupon Widge), to a million blue links (as per conventional search engines).
  • [0591]
    Spherez attract like content—which revolutionizes search. With a conventional search engine, a search is performed, but the search results are generally not saved. So any given user may do the same search over and over again. With Spherez search results may be saved—the coupons/offers/information/et. al. a user receives related to a given topic may each be maintained on separate profile-based Spherez (that the user can keep indefinitely). FIG. 24 illustrates the user's detergent and microwave oven Spherez. Coupon Widge creates Spherez for each of a user's profiles. For example, a user whose hobby is comic book collecting may have a Comic Book Spherez, which stores current information (Tilz) the user already has, and continues to attract new information, such as upcoming comic book conventions, and offers from comic book sellers. Spherez are “living” entities. That is to say, they continue to function in the background, attracting like content. In the case of the user's microwave oven Spherez 2401, it might continue to attract like content, such as coupons/information about microwavable cookware, or microwave recipes, or information about sterilizing a baby's bottle using the microwave, etc. However, each user's Spherez only attracts content as per that user's profile. Thus each user's Spherez may be different, even if they are about the same topic—such as microwave ovens. If a user doesn't have a baby, that user may not receive the baby bottle sterilization Tilz. A user's profiles inform inbound messaging.
  • [0592]
    With Coupon Widge, search is no longer a process that puts all the burden on the user, instead search becomes something that happens automatically, and continuously, and minimizes the amount of time a user has to invest in the process. Coupons Widge respects the user experience. Conventional search does not. With conventional search, the search engine makes money off users; wherein Coupon Widge makes money with users.
  • [0593]
    Conventional search also fails users in other ways. Consider the case of two users in Paris, each one trying to figure out where to go for dinner. As per the conventional art, they each avail themselves of a search engine, and type in “Paris restaurants.” The search engine, returns the same results for both users. There are billions of users on earth, each of whom are different, yet conventional art search engines return the same results for all users. One-size-fits-all search/advertising is a woefully inadequate solution.
  • [0594]
    Consider the additional case information that one person is a student backpacking through Europe and the other person is the CEO of a large company. Chances are the student wants to pay very little for dinner, while the CEO might be willing to pay quite a lot. Search engines should deliver different results for different people. Yet don't.
  • [0595]
    Ads are information that inform purchase decisions. The two Paris users need information to inform their restaurant choice.
  • [0596]
    Utilizing Coupon Widge is a far more effective way of informing their restaurant choice. In embodiments, Coupon Widge sets their Restaurant profiles to ACCEPT and updates the user's location information. Each user's restaurant profile may consist of a Tilz for each restaurant they've already been to, thus Paris restaurants may make an informed decision as to whether the student's or CEO's restaurant tastes are such that they are a possible match. And if so, those restaurants may send the particular user their coupon Tilz, and potentially pay the user to receive such information 2303, 2304.
  • [0597]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge blurs some aspects of the line between search and advertising. Coupon Widge delivers more relevant information to users; in this case delivering differing and highly relevant sets of coupons/offers/information based upon each user's profile; whereas conventional art search engines treat every single user on earth, as if they all had the same profile. Profile-based search/advertising, as per the present Invention, obsoletes the conventional art.
  • [0598]
    FIG. 24 also illustrates a user's detergent Spherez 2405. Coupon Widge, among many other features, enables a unique realtime challenge coupon process. For example, a user in a store, grabs a box of their favorite detergent, Tide, and scans the barcode with their mobile handset to receive via Coupon Widge any available Tide coupons. If the user has elected, as per their Coupon Widge preference profile, to receive challenge coupons, then the following may take place: the user's Coupon Widge profile is updated in realtime, including any received coupons for Tide. Coupon Widge presents an ordered list of available coupons on the user's mobile handset via the Coupon Widge client-side software. Once the user has selected a coupon, that fact is added in realtime to the user's Coupon Widge profile. Competing detergent companies, for instance, may receive an alert, that a user is actually in the process of purchasing detergent, and furthermore that the user, is about to purchase the competition's brand of detergent. There is no time when a user is more valuable to coupon-sending entities than when a user is actively in the act of making a purchase. In that moment, competitors to Tide, such as Cheer, are likely to make their most aggressive coupon offers, since the user is an active detergent buyer (as opposed to a coupon a company may send to someone who is in fact a detergent buyer, but may or may not be buying detergent anytime soon). And particularly, if the user's Household Items profile indicates that this user has been a loyal Tide buyer for years, it may take a bold gesture on Cheer's part to try to get this user to switch. It is not inconceivable therefore, that the user, via realtime Coupon Widge profile broadcast, may be offered a multi-dollar off coupon from Cheer, and even pay the user, say, 50 cents, just to review the coupon right then and there in the store. The Cheer coupon may include a provision that the coupon is only redeemable on a receipt sans any Tide detergent.
  • [0599]
    Embodiments are virtually endless, and compelling, and unique, and revolutionize aspects of search, marketing, advertising, and merchandising.
  • [0600]
    FIG. 25 is a diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example wherein products 2502, 2503, 2504 are interacting with the user 2505 (via the use of RFID); as per the user's profile, Coupon Widge is allowing the crackers 2502 to send the user information, but not allowing information from the cereal 2504 or soup 2504. Additionally, the diagram illustrates an embodiment of an example of how scanning 2507 the grocery receipt 2508 can, if the user wishes, automatically add those items from that purchase to the user's coupon profile.
  • [0601]
    One of the advertising trends that Coupon Widge enables is (in embodiments) for products 2502, 2503, 2504 to start to interact with shoppers 2505. The average supermarket 2501 in America carries 45,000 items. It would be cacophonous, if thousands of items interacted with a user, as the user walked into/through the store. Instead, users profit from Coupon Widge's shield function—a shield against information overload. Each product on a shelf 2502, 2503, 2504 in a store 2501 has some measure of information about that product available in a plurality of locations, often including Websites. Thus there are profiles of each item available somewhere, that the user can benefit from when entering and/or moving about in, for example, a store.
  • [0602]
    In embodiments such profiles can be “sent” to the user's mobile (or other digital) device as follows: the shelf end-cap under each group of like items has an RFID tag affixed. The RFID tag is encoded with the Internet Protocol (IP) address where more information about that item is located. When a user with a mobile handset 2506 featuring an RFID facility walks near an end cap, the RFID facility can interrogate the RFID tag, and when the IP address is returned, point a browser to that location, and thereby download, in realtime, a data tile (Tilz) about that item. In embodiments Coupon Widge then presents such Tilz in a unique way, by ghosting the Tilz onto the user's mobile device (in such a manner that the opacity of the Tilz is set to a percentage, say 50%) such that the user can see through the Tilz. If the user has a mobile handset with a camera facility, then the user can turn the camera facility on, hold the mobile handset up in the air in front of the user, in such a manner that the user can see the Tilz for various objects appear in realtime, as the user pans across various items on the shelf, which the user can see in the background behind the ghosted-in Tilz.
  • [0603]
    That Tilz is the profile of that item. The profile may include, but not be limited to, such information as price (which via Coupon Widge can be customized and different for different users, as per each user's Coupon Widge profile), nutrition information (calories, fat grams, etc.), ingredients list (including whether such ingredients are consistent with the diet service the user is a member of, and/or is kosher, and/or vegan, etc.), et. al. Thereby for a user who is on, for instance, a low sodium diet, Coupon Widge could alert the user to items that match the user's low sodium diet profile. And further, in embodiments, Coupon Widge then delivers coupons/offers/information/et. al. 2019 to the user, in realtime, if the user's Coupon Widge preference profile 2016 indicates such interaction is desirable, and even purchase the item 2021, 2022, on the spot, via mobile device.
  • [0604]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that there are a plurality of alternative embodiments and modalities to those described herein that achieve essentially the same or similar data retrieval and profile matching, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Invention (i.e. in embodiments, everything has a profile, profiles are matched, and thereby more intelligent interactions and transactions are facilitated).
  • [0605]
    In embodiments, once a user has completed their (intelligent) shopping, the user scans the barcode on the bottom of their receipt 2508, and thereby receives an individual Tilz for each items they purchased. With Coupon Widge, users can receive and manage all their Tilz right on their mobile device 2507 (local Tilz; unlike a Website, which is a remote data source that generally requires a network connection to access and utilize). All the Tilz collectively can, for instance, be added to the user's Groceries profile 2208; and individual Tilz added to other more focused profiles, such as Junk Food, Camping Trip Food, etc. or even added to a profile the user might wish their doctor to view, such as the user's Health profile, which might include all the food items a user consumes over a given period of time. Coupon Widge enables a user's doctor or insurance company or other person/entity/machine to subscribe to the one or more of a user's profiles (as per the user's preferences/permissions regarding same 2016, 2024).
  • [0606]
    In embodiments, users automatically receive the Tilz for the items they purchase (without need to scan a physical receipt) when transactions are performed electronically 2021, say via mobile handset 2507, which delivers a Tilz as the digital receipt. The digital receipt includes an individual Tilz for each item the user purchased.
  • [0607]
    FIG. 26 is a block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example architecture wherein a user's coupon profile 2601 informs how, when and where 2603, 2604, 2605 a user would like to receive coupons, in addition to which coupons to receive 2602.
  • [0608]
    In embodiments a user's Coupon Widge profiles are stored remotely on servers 2601, which coupon-issuing entities 2602 can access via various means including the Internet. Thusly fortified by the data contained in the user's profiles, coupon-issuing entities can send coupons to users, as per the user's profiles which contain preferences (among others) as to how, when and where the user would like to receive said coupons. For example, a user might wish to receive work/business-related multimedia coupons, between 6 PM and 6:30 PM, Monday through Friday, on the car radio 2603, while driving home from work; Multimedia coupons related to household items on the user's TV 2604 from 7-9 PM on weeknights; And all other coupons directly on the user's mobile handset 2605.
  • [0609]
    In other embodiments, users will carry their Coupon Widge profile Tilz around with them, literally on their mobile handset. In this case, coupon-sending entities may obtain and review the user's profile, via interaction with the user's mobile handset 2605 (and therefore, not necessarily via a remote server 2601 that also hosts the user's profiles). The coupon-sending entity 2602 may send the coupon, which is sent to the user in the form of a Tilz, directly to the user's mobile handset 2605. The user may wish to view the coupon via the user's mobile handset or stream the multimedia embodiment of the coupon from the user's handset to the user's car radio 2603 or TV 2604. In embodiments, Coupon Widge facilitates same as follows: the coupon-issuing entity 2602 sends the coupon to the user's mobile handset 2605 in the form of a Tilz. As the user is driving home, the radio broadcast includes notification signals in the metadata broadcast alerting appropriate devices, such as the user's mobile handset 2605 that a commercial break is coming up, and if the user's coupon serving facility 2019 (Coupon Widge) has any coupons to insert, indicate to this station now (so the regularly scheduled commercial can be muted) and stream them from the mobile handset 2605 via Bluetooth in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 seconds BEGIN_USERAD.
  • [0610]
    In a situation where a content provider is serving coupon advertising-supported content, the content provider's coupon server 2602 first checks with the user's Coupon Widge profile 2601, before coupons for products or services being shown in a video, TV program, movie, Website 2606, etc. are served to the screen. In embodiments, the multimedia coupon will be streamed from the user's mobile handset 2605 to the user's PC 2609 which is displaying the Website 2606 where the video is playing. Users may be presented with a choice of coupons 2607 or 2608. Based upon the user's selection, the user's Coupon Widge profile may be updated locally on the user's mobile handset 2605 (if within, say, Bluetooth distance of the PC 2609), or remotely via the Internet to the Coupon Widge servers 2601 containing the user's profiles.
  • [0611]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that a user may utilize other digital devices that are similar to or different from a mobile handset, featuring wireless carrier service or not; Such devices are consistent with the principles of the Invention, and are thusly encompassed herein by inference.
  • [0612]
    FIG. 27 is an illustrative example of an embodiment of the profile creation process depicting one of a plurality of profile creation and management user interface screens 2701; in this case, manual profile creating via checklists or barcode scanning 2710 (as opposed to the Invention's automatic profile creation facilities).
  • [0613]
    In embodiments, users can utilize one of a plurality of data input screens to configure their Coupon Widge profile. Coupon Widge can maintain a Coupon History which can be imported into the Create Coupon List user-interface screen 2701. Users can see all their past coupons, in this example, the Groceries profile, broken down by various categories such as Bakery 2702, Beverages 2703, Cheese 2706, Frozen 2707, and Grocery Misc. 2708. Within a category, such as Bakery 2702, users can view an ordered list (per a plurality of sort options) of baked goods which the user has redeemed a coupon for. For example, the subject beta test user redeemed nineteen 2705 coupons for Omega Seeded Bread 2704. If the user wanted to solicit another coupon for Omega Seeded Bread the user could place a checkmark in the box to the left of the Item Name.
  • [0614]
    For new items the user has not received a coupon for in the past 2709, the user can add them in a plurality of ways including scanning 2710 the barcode/RFID of the item, which adds the Item Name into the appropriate category, as per the available metadata (Tilz) about the item. Coupon Widge will either suggest a category or ask that the user enter the category manually. Alternatively, the user can navigate to a blank line in any category and simply type in the Item Name, and then place a checkmark in the box to the left of the Item Name. Placing a checkmark in a box causes Coupon Widge to query one or more databases to see if Coupon Widge has, or has access to, the metadata (Tilz) for that item. If so the new item is then added to that category; if not, then Coupon Widge performs a search to find the exact product desired and disambiguate among a plethora of possible candidates if such is the case.
  • [0615]
    For existing items, placing a checkmark in a box causes the profile for that Item Name to be flagged ACCEPT—and thereby solicit available coupons as per descriptions herein.
  • [0616]
    The cumulative redemption totals for each Item Name are logged, and displayed on embodiments of the Create Coupon List user interface screen. Such data can also, at the user's option be made available (for free or for a fee, which the user shares in) to select interested entities.
  • [0617]
    FIG. 28 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a method for server-side 2807 profile configuration and transaction facilitation as per mobile handset 2809 scanning 2810 and broadcast 2812.
  • [0618]
    A user's coupon profile 2809 is updated as a result of an ad 2810 the user scanned in their morning newspaper, then as the user 2813 is walking to work, various commercial enterprises 2814, 2815 attempt to send coupons to the user's mobile handset 2812. The user is shielded from information overload by the user's instantly updated coupon profile 2809 which dictates which coupons the user desires, and which the user does not. And is alerted to a desired transaction involving the coffee shop 2814.
  • [0619]
    Coupon Widge server-side facilities 2807 are provided. A profile serving and matching facility 2802 is configured to transmit profiles (Tilz) to remote devices. The profile serving and matching facility 2802 includes algorithms configured to filter and match a plurality of available coupons based upon metadata for each coupon against profiles of items a user has indicated a desire to receive (or not) coupons for. A database server 2803 facilitates user profiles and preferences, as well as a rules facility by which certain actions must accord.
  • [0620]
    Users create new or update existing profiles by a plurality of means, including, for instance, scanning an ad 2810 in a newspaper for an item a user is interested in. The scan results in a query which returns a data tile (Tilz), about the subject item, to the user's mobile handset 2809. For example, if the user scanned an ad 2810 for Acme coffee beans, and received the Tilz for same, the user, via the client-side Coupon Widge widget 2809 queries the user as to whether or not the user would like to receive Acme coffee bean coupons. The user's profile is updated presently by (the Coupon Widge client-side software on the user's mobile device, and/or) the Coupon Widge server-side facilities 2807, which receive transmission of the query results via a plurality of communication modalities 2808. The user's updated profile is returned therefrom to the user's Coupon Widge widget for inclusion in the user's profile broadcast (ComCloud) 2201.
  • [0621]
    As the user 2813, walks along and passes a number of commercial entities, said entities attempt to send various information to the user's mobile handset 2812. In embodiments Coupon Widge REJECTS all information, based upon the user's Coupon Widge profile, not flagged for ACCEPT. So for instance information-sending attempts by the burger joint, bookstore, copy shop, and pub 2815 all failed—as Coupon Widge protected the user against such information overload. Coupon Widge did let through the communication from coffee shop 2814, because Acme coffee beans are sold therein, and a coupon for same was proffered to the user. The user might not have known that that particular coffee shop sold Acme coffee beans were it not for Coupon Widge facilitating such an interaction/transaction.
  • [0622]
    In embodiments, the commercial entities review the user's profile, as broadcast directly from the user's mobile handset 2812, and if their wares match the user's wants, could then send, via Coupon Widge, a coupon to the user.
  • [0623]
    In embodiments, both the user and the commercial enterprise broadcast their profiles, whereupon the Coupon Widge profile matching facility (either client- or server-side) can alert the user to matches and present the resultant coupons.
  • [0624]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge searches other sources, accessed for instance, via the Internet 2808, for Acme coffee beans (data tiles) and/or coupons therefore, and if found, the Coupon Widge Web server 2801 presents the coupons to the Coupon Widge website 2804 wherefrom the user may display via their mobile handset 2812 the coupon's 2806 machine readable barcode for redemption at the coffee shop. Similarly the coupon can be sent to the user via modalities such as email, which the user might access from a PC 2805 and therefrom print the coupon 2806.
  • [0625]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge may be configured as a Web-based application 2804.
  • [0626]
    FIG. 29 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example wherein both product/service providers 2907, 2908, 2909 as well as the user 2901 broadcast their profiles 2904, 2905, 2906, 2903, which are then profile-matched 2910 by the Invention; thereupon filtering for just those coupons/offers/info/et. al. the user 2911 desires.
  • [0627]
    Profile-based interactions and transactions are sufficiently superior to the conventional art that a shift to same without profile-matching facilities 2910 would be cacophonous. Coupon Widge facilitates such profile-matching 2910 via a plurality of means and modalities. For instance, all parties may broadcast cast their wants and needs 2904, 2905, 2906, 2903 via the Internet, and via client-side facilitation such profile-matching occurs.
  • [0628]
    Alternatively, such broadcasts may be facilitated entirely via local means and modalities. In embodiments, a user locally 2901 CloudCasting the user's Coupon Widge profile 2903 (say via Bluetooth) encounters various businesses 2907, 2908, 2909 also CloudCasting 2904, 2905, 2906 via local means, such as WiFi. Without need for a wireless carrier network, the user can receive just those coupons/offers/information/et. al. desired as per Coupon Widge's client-side profile matching facility 2910 configured for operation on the user's 2911 mobile handset 2912.
  • [0629]
    Peer-to-peer, user-to-machine, and machine-to-machine transactions are likely to skyrocket in the coming years, and be facilitated by an innovative system, method, service and platform such as the Invention.
  • [0630]
    These and other objects and features of the present Invention may become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the description and practice of the Invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • [0631]
    The Invention description makes reference to barcode/RFID scanners on mobile handsets, however the same or similar information may be acquired by other means and/or modalities such as sourcing information via a Website, and/or by utilizing devices other than mobile handsets, consistent with the principles of the Invention, and therefore alternative means, modalities and devices are included herein by inference.
  • [0632]
    The Invention consists primarily, though not exclusively, of a Website, server software, and a widget (Webified mini-software application) that together facilitate a novel method for delivering and receiving advertising. Via the Website (easily accessible and usable via mobile handset) or widget, users create an account. Users then create a profile of items (or types of items) they would like to see coupons for. Advertisers receive permission from the users for the right to both view the user's coupon profile and send coupons to the user as per the user's coupon solicitation profile. Advertisers then deliver coupons to all the users who indicated a desire to receive a coupon for that specific product or service.
  • Misc.
  • [0633]
    When issuing a coupon, coupon vendors may, at the Coupon Widge user's option, send one additional directly related coupon (which is the digital equivalent of the obverse of the physical coupon).
  • [0634]
    In embodiments the Coupon Widge site is pre-populated with a list of various types of businesses, service providers, etc. similar to those in phonebooks, which may aid the user in building a list of specific entities or classes of entities from which the user may want to receive coupons. In embodiments the user then creates a profile listing the items they may want coupons for, including via means such as scanning the product barcodes/RFID of everyday items they use.
  • [0635]
    In embodiments when the Coupon Widge widget is active on a user's mobile handset, and the user is scanning a barcode, a query bubble (Tilz) pops up and asks: “Start Coupons for this Item, Stop Coupons for this Item, or Sorting Bin” If the user selects the Sorting Bin, the item is stored in a general folder that the user can come back to later and sort into the correct coupon profile later (or have an automatic sorting facility accomplish the same (automatically)).
  • [0636]
    Once the user has established a Coupon Profile, the user can receive coupons sent via the Internet or other means such as WiFi or Bluetooth. For example, let's say a user 2813 has added Gyms and Coffee Shops 2814 to their Coupon Profile. While walking down the street with the Coupon Widge widget active on their mobile handset 2812, the user can receive coupons according to their Coupon Profile:
  • Solicit, Send, and Receive Coupons
  • [0637]
    A user's Coupon Profile can be synced with the user's other profiles such as Regularly Purchased Items, Gift Registry List, Recreation List or Entertainment List (which may include item such as the restaurants, etc. frequently used by that user). Once the user's Coupon Profile is established Coupon Widge solicits coupon/offers from all service/product suppliers and other entities that match the user's preference profile.
  • [0638]
    Coupon-sending entities can then provision coupons. The Coupon Widge Website comes pre-populated with templates enabling users to create digital coupons. Coupon Widge also encourages third parties to upload digital coupon templates which they can offer for free or for a fee. Coupon senders pay users for the right to send coupons as per the preferences of the user.
  • [0639]
    Users can receive coupons on their mobile handsets (or any digital device of their choice). Once the user has solicited and received coupons, they are ready to redeem them. Coupon Widge coupons can be redeemed in person, by using a mobile handset to display and redeem the coupon at suitably equipped POS (point of sale) stations. Coupons may also be redeemed via mobile payment transaction using a unique ID number for each coupon.
  • [0640]
    In embodiments, the Coupon Widge digital, user-solicited coupon redemption process is executed in three primary steps:
  • [0000]
    1) Upon presentation of the digital coupon, the shopper receives an immediate discount for the amount of the coupons utilized in the transaction;
    2) The retailer electronically presents the digital coupon to the coupon issuer for payment; and
    3) Once the coupon issuer pays the retailer the coupon face amount (at specified intervals which could be daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) plus a small incentive fee, the shopper may receive an incentive such as a payment for utilizing the coupon.
  • [0641]
    All three parties can be paid simultaneously for all-digital coupon transactions (though in some cases coupon issuers will ask that retailers present aggregated audited bundles of coupons for payment). The coupon issuer may induce retailers to use digital coupons by offering a larger incentive fee for using digital (non-paper) coupons.
  • Detailed Coupon Widge Process
  • [0642]
    On a Website (easily accessible and utilized, for instance, via mobile handset) users sign up. Users then create a coupon profile of items (or types of items) they would like to see coupons for.
  • [0643]
    Coupon issuers pay for the right to both view the recipient's coupon profile and send coupons to the recipient as per the recipient's coupon solicitation profile.
  • [0644]
    Coupon issuers deliver coupons to all the recipients who indicated a desire to receive a coupon for that specific product or service.
  • [0645]
    Coupons can be delivered where and how the user selects: such as to social networking sites, online videos, within video games, to mobile handsets or PCs or TVs, and via email, text message or postal mail (or other means). Wireless Internet networks (such as WiFi) enable coupons targeted to specific geographic locations. GPS-enabled mobile handsets enable coupons targeted to even more specific locations.
  • [0646]
    Users can also change coupon receiving venues (for example: stop sending this type of coupon to my mobile handset, and instead send it via postal mail).
  • [0647]
    Coupons are also delivered in a format according to the users' preferences profile: coupons alone, coupons delivered within ads, detailed information on the coupon, just basic savings information, etc. Also users can control when coupons are delivered, especially in the case where users choose to receive coupons on their mobile handset. Users may not want coupons arriving during their work hours, so they can choose to schedule to receive them, say, only from 6-8 PM at night and perhaps during their lunch hour.
  • [0648]
    The Coupon Widge Website also maintains a history, at the user's option, of all past coupons received. A user's Coupon Widge can store a plurality of coupons and make use of them while shopping anywhere in the world.
  • [0649]
    Coupon Widge automatically moves expired coupons into an Expired Coupons folder. Users can make public or share with other users their Coupon List of coupons sought. Users can choose to view coupons in the Website white spaces that result from the use of ad blocking software.
  • [0650]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge coupons have an IP barcode enabling instant purchase of the item via mobile handset—for which the user may be given a discount or paid a rebate.
  • Coupon Profile
  • [0651]
    Users set up a profile indicating the type of items they'd like to receive coupons for, and what format they'd like their coupons to be: email, text messages (SMS), videos (MMS), mobile documents, or postal mail delivered to their home/office. Users can choose, depending upon their preferences profile to receive paper, as opposed to digital, coupons. A user's preference profile (Web Pref) also details how they'd like the information to be presented to them: high level only, intangible benefits, technical details, comparison to competitors, etc.
  • [0652]
    Users can create their own profiles, either explicitly or implicitly, either manually or automatically. Explicitly: via filling out their coupon profile on the Coupon Widge Website or on the user's mobile handset. Implicitly: via means such as barcode/RFID scanning with their mobile handset. Barcode/RFID scanning can, at the user's option, track a user's actual shopping habits. In addition users can scan barcodes of items they are just browsing, but not buying, in offline stores (which enables Coupon Widge to collect data about offline activities not included by today's digital search or advertising tools). Coupon Widge also tracks tag-related search (uTag) results to add a user's online browsing habits to their profile as well. Such barcode scanning can also track where users eat (restaurants) and recreate (sporting events attended, etc.), what users read (which books users read or own or borrow from the library), and where users vacation (hotels, airlines, etc.). Coupon Widge can track, and add to a user's profile, those items on Websites or in TV ads a user requests more information about.
  • [0653]
    In embodiments users can elect to let Coupon Widge automatically create the user's coupon profile based upon the user's barcode/RFID scanning habits. A user's coupon profile can be automatically created via the use of barcode/RFID scanners on mobile handsets to mark those items users are interested in. By scanning those items a user regularly encounters in the user's daily life (such as food items, household items such as light bulbs, DVDs purchases, etc.) it is very simple to build and manage the list of items for which users want to receive coupons for. At the user's choice, Coupon Widge can monitor which items a user barcode/RFID scans and suggest coupons that might be of interest.
  • [0654]
    The product/service Coupon Index List is pre-populated by Coupon Widge but can be added to and maintained by users and product/service vendors who want to make sure their coupons can be found.
  • [0655]
    Many of the offline, real-life items/products/objects in a user's life have a barcode/RFID that can be scanned. In embodiments, only those items that the user chooses to scan will be fed to the proprietary Coupon Widge algorithms which then automatically create the user's coupon profile. The user may also manually edit the coupon profile created by the Coupon Widge software.
  • [0656]
    Users can create a coupon profile to indicate which items they'd like to receive coupons for, and which items they don't want to receive coupons for (as well as items that they are neutral towards receiving coupons for). In embodiments, Coupon Widge features a list of items, with radio buttons next to each item for the user to click: Want Coupons, Don't Want Coupons, or Neutral. For example: if a user just purchased a new treadmill, the user can indicate that they Don't Want any treadmill coupons.
  • [0657]
    Coupon Widge users may utilize a novel type of reverse electronic “cookies” (hereafter My Cookiez)—a token or short packet of data passed between communicating programs—to send coupon profile information to TV's, radios, other devices, and various forms of online and offline activity. For example, when a user is on a Website, Coupon Widge can automatically send that user's cookies (My Cookiez) to that Website's servers (or directly to the company serving the advertising/coupons on that Website) to transmit the user's coupon profile, so the Website can display/deliver user-solicited coupons to the user.
  • Coupon Topic List
  • [0658]
    For each category list topic Coupon Widge collects digital coupons related to that topic. When advertisers create a coupon they also include metadata for the coupon that includes category tags/keywords. Once the coupon (with metadata tags) has been created and placed online the Coupon Widge (uTag) search engine crawls to find tagged coupons and delivers them to the Coupon Widge Coupon Topic profile.
  • [0659]
    Let's say a user wanted to see coupons for a delivery pizza, the user scrolls down to pizza in the Coupon Categories list in Coupon Widge. Coupon Widge collects coupons (based on tag keywords) from various pizza parlors and present the results in a manner described below. The user clicks on the data tile (Tilz) featuring the pizza parlor they would like to see coupons for.
  • Contextual Coupons
  • [0660]
    Users can also set their coupon profile to allow them to receive coupons for things not specifically listed in their coupon wish profile. So for instance while watching a sporting event on TV (or Website or mobile handset or other or listening via digital radio or other) they could receive sports related coupons (offering discounts for upcoming sporting events, sports memorabilia, etc.), but not coupons, for, say, laundry detergent.
  • Blended Coupons
  • [0661]
    Users can choose to allow or disallow blended ads. For example: The San Francisco Giants baseball team might offer a $3 coupon discount coupon for bleacher seats for those users who redeemed a Slurpee coupon at their local 7-11 mini-market the day of the game. Users who are a fans of live sporting events might allow such a blended coupon (which also advertises/coupons a snack food). Users into live music might allow: Digital Arts College of San Francisco presents Expression Session featuring Silver Sun Pickups (band) event coupons (which also advertises this local college).
  • Interest Categories
  • [0662]
    Users can also set their coupon profile to allow coupons anytime, anywhere (Website, mobile handset, postal mail) that meet the user's interest categories. For instance, movie buffs could specify in their profile that they are always open to receiving discount coupons for movie theaters, no matter if the Website they happen to be visiting has anything to do with movies or not (meaning non-contextual ads are OK if they meet the user's specified Interest Categories). And users can even set specifics within an interest category. For example, users could elect to receive coupons for just comedy movies, or just actions movies, or anything with Halle Berry in it, or romantic comedies, or any movies except for foreign films with subtitles.
  • Behavioral Coupons
  • [0663]
    Users can choose to receive coupons based upon the behavior of others with similar profiles, who solicited certain coupons. Such a profile might be: attends sporting events, and wine tastings, and art galleries, married, car lover, age 25-40, etc. A user's behavior profile can be imported from a social networking site, or created from scratch on the Coupon Widge Website. In embodiments the anonymous behavioral coupon matching is accomplished by Coupon Widge servers which compare coupon serving for mathematically constructed groups formed by various aggregations of behavior keywords. All permutations of up to 4 keywords at a time are examined, and clear trends with very high degrees of confidence are used to suggest coupons for a user based upon coupons solicited by others with similar behavior profiles.
  • Affinity Coupons
  • [0664]
    Users can choose to receive coupons based upon the interests or behavior of others in their affinity groups (women, men, college students, elderly, married, single, soccer team, etc.). For example, other women (with similar profiles) wanted coupons for these cosmetics or clothes, so this user might also.
  • Self-Aggregating Groups
  • [0665]
    Before all advertisers switch to one-to-one marketing, some may wish to continue to want to market to larger groups of users. Users can choose to create or join groups of people with similar profiles. Coupon Widge facilitates entente cordiale—the friendly agreement among such users to work together to maximize coupon profile monetization. Coupon Widge aggregates these groups and makes them available to advertisers using, in embodiments, no-personally identifiable information about the users in the group. Users can join, or elect to allow themselves to be automatically added to various groups as they are created. Users get paid for the resultant coupons. Users can also choose to be the curator or host of a group. They might try to create a very large group; or they might want to be very selective about who they let in to the groups to increase the attractiveness to advertisers (and thereby increase the payment per user). Third parties can also choose to curate or host various groups of profiles.
  • Intramedia Coupons or Interstitial Coupons
  • [0666]
    Coupon Widge technology is compatible with embedded coupons within a show, movie, video, photo, document (Tilz) or any digital content, as long as the intramedia/interstitial content supports tags. Users can wirelessly collect such coupons via mobile handset. Intramedia/interstitial content are coupons or content that the user cannot fast forward past or otherwise skip. Intramedia coupons may float on top of part of the existing program. Interstitial coupons are displayed between shows (or during commercial breaks) but, again, cannot be defeated or avoided by the user.
  • Freshness
  • [0667]
    The user's coupon profile indicates to the coupon issuers how recently the user indicated a desire to receive coupons on a given subject. The time and date an item is added to a user's Want Coupons profile is indicated to those viewing the profile. Users who recently indicated an interest for a particular coupon item might be more valuable to advertisers than, say, a user who more than a year ago indicated an interest for that same item. This difference in freshness value is reflected in the price advertisers pay to view a user's profile. The more up to date the profile (on average, across all profile data) the more the marketers/coupon issuers pay the users to view the profile.
  • [0668]
    Interest freshness is automatically set to highest interest level the first time a customer registers a product interest. Then each week (or other time interval) the interest level is automatically lowered along with the price charged advertisers (and commissions paid to users), one notch. The user may countermand this automatic lowering of interest level by manually re-setting it to the highest level—indicating their interest in purchasing such a product is still very high. Users may also re-set the highest level of interest in any given item by scanning its barcode again.
  • [0669]
    This freshness process assures coupon issuers fresh interest on the part of the consumers they market to.
  • Usage Based Suggestions
  • [0670]
    At the user's choice, Coupon Widge, via a proprietary software algorithm, can monitor which items a user barcode/RFID scans and suggest other coupons that might be of interest. The user could also choose to let Coupon Widge automatically create the user's coupon profile based upon the user's barcode/RFID scanning habits.
  • [0671]
    Users can also indicate in their profile that they are willing to let anyone send a coupon—on any subject—if the sender meets the requirements set by the user. The user could then choose to add that coupon to their Want or Don't Want coupon profile.
  • Users Rate Coupons
  • [0672]
    Another unique feature of the Invention is interactivity. Coupon issuers have longed for the ability to find out how relevant/useful the coupons were to various users, in real-time, without the artificial focus-group environment. Users can choose to, or not to, rate the coupons they receive for quality and relevance, as well as suggest improvements. Users can also change coupon receiving venues (for example: stop sending this type of coupon to my house via postal mail, and instead send it to my mobile handset, where the same coupon may receive a higher rating, greater usability via a mobile handset).
  • [0673]
    In this way the Coupon Widge software engine fine tunes the likes/dislikes of its users. And by rating a coupon the very lowest rating, the user can stop all future coupons of that type from that vendor. The user coupon ratings information may, at the user's option, be made available to coupon vendors for free or for a fee. Thus, users are incentivized to rate coupons, since only coupon-rating users will receive a percentage of the income generated by selling Coupon Effectiveness Statistics back to the coupon-sending entities.
  • 4 Types of Ratings
  • [0674]
    1) Coupon issuers can rate users (e.g. person A is a heavy coupon user, person B rarely redeems requested coupons).
    2) Users can rate the coupons from the advertisers (and/or users can rate the coupon supplying company, the product vendor).
    3) Usage Ratio: for each Coupon Widge coupon solicited Coupon Widge software calculates ratios such as the percentage of coupons requested vs. the percentage redeemed.
    4) Purchase Ratio: Coupon Widge software assigns a score (a rating) that matches a user's purchases against their solicited-coupon profile (Coupon Widge software can track, at the user's option, the percentage of solicited coupons that lead to purchases of that specific product—across all coupons requested and utilized by a given user).
  • Market Research
  • [0675]
    Users who rate the coupons might receive (at the advertiser's choice) additional incentives from the advertiser, which may be in the form of a novel digital, credits-based currency (hereafter “iDough”). Coupon issuers or market research firms can also send more detailed questionnaires about the product/service coupon to selected users whose profile allows this. Thus the Invention enables a new type of real-time market research.
  • User Run Coupon Forums
  • [0676]
    An additional aspect of Coupon Widge interactivity is the user-run forums which give users who wish to discuss the coupons or any other matter/topic, a place to express their views. Advertisers/coupon issuers can pay to view and monitor such forums, however they may not interact with any user unless that user specifically opts-in to interaction with advertisers/coupon issuers in the forums.
  • Widget
  • [0677]
    Coupon Widge's software widget resides on user devices (particularly mobile handsets), and enables (among many other functions) stores, merchants, service providers, etc. to send coupons to a user's mobile handset (or digital device of their choice or in paper form to their home/office), as well as enables users to manage their coupon profile.
  • [0000]
    Purchasing from Coupons
  • [0678]
    Digital barcodes on coupons enable purchasing from coupons. In embodiments, Coupon Widge coupons contain a novel type of IP-based digital barcode (hereafter “Net Dotz”) enabling, among other features, instant electronic purchase of the item. The IP address contains the location where more information about the item can be found. Coupon barcodes are easily scannable by suitably-equipped mobile handsets (Mobis) for online or offline purchases of the ad item. In embodiments, scanning the digital barcode may return transactable tiles of information (hereafter “Tilz”) relating to the ad.
  • [0679]
    In embodiments Tilz function as a focused mini-Website pertaining to just the object from that coupon, enabling (among other features) instant purchases of the coupon item from both online and offline coupons. The user may be given a discount or paid a rebate for purchasing items directly from the coupon, since it saves the product/service maker the expense of paying middlemen such as department stores to stock and sell the item. One advantage of having an IP-based digital barcode such as a Net Dotz on the coupon, is that the vendor can feature the very latest pricing for the item, and even offer different pricing or discounts depending on who the shopper is. The user's reverse cookies, My Cookiez, may, at the user's option, provide the vendor the one or more profiles of the user scanning the digital barcode on the coupon. Furthermore Net Dotz digital barcodes are also electronic so users, for instance, watching TV or listening to the radio can “scan” the electronic digital barcode as they watch TV or listen to the radio, to download the associated data tile (Tilz) coupon to their mobile handset, and effect the purchase therefrom.
  • [0680]
    In embodiments the user may scan the IP-based digital barcode with their mobile handset, and be able to complete the purchase transaction using their mobile handset via the Coupon Widge widget to transmit their credit card information or other payment modality information; or pay via a novel type of credits-based digital currency, iDough.
  • Time Limits
  • [0681]
    There can be time limits put on any of the user's coupon profile list items. If a user just purchased tires, that user doesn't need to see tire coupons for, say, 3 years. The Coupon Widge widget can block tire coupons for three years, and then start allowing/soliciting them 36 months later, depending upon tire need at that time.
  • Preview and Schedule Coupons
  • [0682]
    In embodiments, such as for multimedia coupons, Coupon Widge enables users to preview coupons. Using the COUPON FORMAT described below, coupon-sending entities can also include short, say 10 second long “trailers” for their full length 2 minute detailed product multimedia coupon. If the recipient doesn't wish to view the multimedia coupon based upon the preview, the user's negative rating for the preview is sent back to the advertisers. If the recipient wants to review the full length multimedia coupon, the recipient has the option of scheduling the multimedia coupon for any time/date, or even downloading the multimedia coupon to the recipient's device of choice (mobile handset, PC, TV/set top box, DVR, et. al.) for later viewing at the recipient's convenience. Recipients can also choose to schedule multimedia coupons and other types of coupons via a plurality of manners including, but not limited to: never send again, send again but not for X hours/days/weeks/months/years and/or other options
  • Other Profile Details
  • [0683]
    Users can choose to fill out as much or as little personal information about themselves in their coupon profile. Users can choose to provide, or not, additional information that marketers/coupon issuers routinely seek out via means such as contest entry forms such as gender, age, income, zip code, hobbies, etc. The more information the user provides, the more robust their profile, which likely increases the value of the profile—and thus the amounts paid to the user by entities who pay to view/utilize the user's profile.
  • Instant Coupons
  • [0684]
    Coupon Widge are mobile digital-content format (Tilz) and tags/keywords compatible so, in embodiments, instant coupons can appear, for instance, across the bottom of relevant, coupon-enabled mobile documents (Tilz).
  • Anonymity
  • [0685]
    Users can choose to use an anonymous IP address supplied to them by Coupon Widge to receive all their coupons (via forwarding), without disclosing any personally identifiable information to the coupon issuers.
  • Privacy
  • [0686]
    Coupon Widge addresses some online users' privacy concerns by putting users in charge of their own coupon profile, including which information to disclose to coupon issuers. Coupon Widge does not require users to make their coupon profiles public. Users can keep their profiles private, and anonymously disclose to selected advertisers/coupon issuers just those items they wish to receive coupons for.
  • Security
  • [0687]
    There is some measure of fraud in the coupon business. Unscrupulous individuals and companies sometimes present unused coupons to coupon issuers seeking (undeserved) payment. Coupon Widge combats fraud in several ways. In embodiments Coupon Widge coupons are presented in mobile digital-content format (Tilz), which assigns an unique digital serial number to each coupon. In cases, for instance, where the user presents the digital coupons and/or pays for the transaction electronically (via mobile handset) a digital receipt is created detailing the serial number of each coupon used, and item purchased, in that transaction.
  • Coupon Format
  • [0688]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge coupons appear in an unique proprietary format (Tilz) that is optimized for mobile handsets but is compatible with a plurality of devices/objects (such as PC's, TV's, cellphones, etc.). This proprietary format has numerous features, however one interesting feature enables users to store any coupons (if the coupon issuer allows) on their digital devices for use at a later time. This unique proprietary format also allows coupons to be placed in, around, under, alongside, etc. any digital file (document, video, song, TV show, etc.). Thus via Coupon Widge, solicited coupons can appear, at the user's request, in many new places other than the traditional ones (newspapers, “Value-Packs” of coupons in the mail, etc.).
  • Digital Coupon Formats
  • [0689]
    Coupon Widge can present digital coupons in a plurality of sizes, shapes or formats, particularly so when using the mobile digital-content format (Tilz). Some of the common coupon formats Coupon Widge can place coupons in, without using mobile digital-content format (Tilz), are skins (e.g. wrap a movie coupon around a video), bugs (e.g. a graphic of the item being couponed that slides onto the bottom of a video as it plays: the graphic offers viewers who click on it the ability to wirelessly receive a digital coupon), and tickers (e.g. overlay coupons which insert text or graphics like a ticker-tape at the bottom of a video).
  • Embedded Pictures and Video
  • [0690]
    Coupons are no longer limited to just a small piece of paper. Coupon Widge digital coupons can include a plurality of embedded text and image data tiles (Tilz). Coupon Widge coupons can include a video therein. Coupon Widge coupons can also include an embedded ad in the coupon data tile (Tilz). Furthermore, Coupon Widge coupons support IP barcodes which can summon additional information, or effect interactions or transactions, when the user has Internet connectivity (or by other means).
  • Match My Coupon
  • [0691]
    Match My Coupon enables customers to accept bids from competing products to match or beat a coupon amount. For example, a Coupon Widge user receives a “$1 off Tide laundry detergent” coupon, but just before they use it, selects the Match My Coupon option on the Coupon Widge widget, which then causes their mobile handset broadcast that coupon and ask competing laundry detergent companies or other entities to match or beat that coupon in the minutes/hours/days before the user purchases detergent. The Coupon Widge Match My Coupon offer is displayed on the Coupon Widge Website (or other locations, such as the user's profile CloudCast) for all coupon vendors' servers to monitor and issue realtime coupons if they choose. In embodiments Coupon Widge broadcasts the impending use of a coupon and solicits other coupons that match or beat it. Thereupon local vendors or the store itself or other entities may send a competing coupon to the user's mobile handset.
  • Paid Coupons
  • [0692]
    Paid coupons function in a fashion similar to paid search. In embodiments, users indicate in their profile that they are willing to let anyone send a coupon—on any subject—if the sender pays the user (a user-set minimum amount). The user could then choose to add that coupon to their Want or Don't Want coupon profile. Users can create their own lists of coupons they solicit, but for those users who opt-in to the Paid Coupon option in their Coupon Widge profile, they are indicating to coupon vendors that they are willing to receive coupons from any vendor on either a Selected List of items, or All Items. That is to say, the user will still receive coupons for those items they specifically listed in their Coupon Widge profile, but also are open to receiving coupons from competing vendors. So for instance if they indicated they want Tide laundry detergent coupons in their Coupon Widge profile, but are open to Paid Coupons, then vendors such as Cheer laundry detergent can pay the user for the privilege of sending a coupon for Cheer (in the hopes of causing that consumer to try their product instead of what the consumer usually uses). Users are incentivized to use receive paid coupons because they may be paid more than the usual fee they receive for receiving coupons. The coupon sender may ask if the user liked the coupon (or just be informed whether the user added the coupon to the user's profile). Coupon senders may even conduct mini market research this way.
  • Related and Unrelated Coupons
  • [0693]
    Coupon Widge offers users the option of receiving coupons for products or services related to those which they already indicated an interest in. In embodiments, if the user elects the Related Coupons option, then each time a coupon is sent to the user, that is related to any of their areas of interest the user specifically elected for Related Coupons, a window (Tilz) pops ups and ask if the user if they would like to view a related coupon. For example, buy a pair of shoes, and get paid to receive a socks coupon.
  • [0694]
    Unrelated Coupons function in a fashion similar to Related Coupons but apply to products/services/etc. unrelated to a coupon the user received. Unrelated Coupons users can opt to add restrictions on the Unrelated Coupons pertaining to which device (mobile handset, TV, PC, etc.) the coupon is to be sent to, including time of day and day of week restrictions.
  • [0695]
    Users are incentivized (by the fees they potentially stand to receive) to be open to receiving coupons from vendors they have not previously specifically allowed.
  • [0696]
    For example, if the user was in the market for laundry detergent, and was leaning toward purchasing Tide detergent, a coupon for Tide laundry detergent would appear in the center tile of the data tile sphere navigation facility (Spherez). Then laundry detergents with similar characteristics (tags) would appear in the tiles around the Tide laundry detergent center tile, so that competitors who also have laundry detergent can also present the user their coupons. Coupon Widge calls these Piggy Back Coupons. The user may spin the data tile navigation sphere (Spherez) using finger flicking motions (on a touch-screen capable digital device) to see more related/unrelated results.
  • Sponsored Coupons
  • [0697]
    Sponsored Coupons are coupons that advertisers directly send to users, irrespective of whether the coupon meets that user's solicited-coupon categories list. Users must first choose to allow (explicitly opt-in) to receive such sponsored coupons. For instance, instead of ads that appear during a TV show, relevant coupons (as per each user's profile) can be delivered to all viewers who view the entire episode. This is a new way to monetize content. And viewers could receive coupons to watch a show delivered on a Tilz, then pass the Tilz along to another user.
  • Unique “Missed Demand” Tracking Capability
  • [0698]
    Coupon Widge can provide retailers with information they have never been able to track before: Missed Demand. Missed Demand is defined herein to mean when there are no more left of a particular item on a retailer's shelf, but consumers come to that shelf hoping to purchase that particular out-of-stock (or simply empty-shelf) item. For example, let's say a consumer planning to purchase four bottles of 2 liter Diet Coke goes to a grocery. When the consumer gets to the shelf it is empty. As per the conventional art the store would have no way of knowing how many additional bottles of Diet Coke they could have sold (and thus should have ordered for that sale) had their supply exactly equaled demand. Coupon Widge could sell this Missed Sales or Missed Demand information to retailers (and split this income with each consumer who helped provide the Missed Sales data). Employing Coupon Widge, the store may have the barcode tag on the edge (or end cap) of the shelf where the Diet Coke sits. If the shelf is empty when the consumer arrives, the consumer simply scans the Diet Coke barcode. A message may be sent to the consumer's mobile handset via Coupon Widge asking how many 2 liter Diet Cokes they would have purchased if they were in stock. Once the consumer has indicated the number of missed items they would have purchased a Rain Check coupon is instantly sent to the consumer's mobile handset via Coupon Widge for the number of Diet Cokes sought. (This coupon could be set to expire, say in one week, or any other vendor selectable timeframe.) Everyone wins: the consumer gets a rain check, the grocery store gets the missed demand information sent along with that consumer's shopping club profile information (if they have one), and Coca Cola also gets the data about Missed Sales (to determine store by store sales efficiencies).
  • [0699]
    This “missed demand” data is valuable information that the store (or other entity) may give the consumer a coupon (or other remuneration) for, and the manufacturer may pay consumers for indicating would-be purchase data. Not only that, but stores and manufacturers get this data in realtime. Analytics they've never had available before.
  • Rebates
  • [0700]
    Coupon Widge supports rebates as well as regular coupons. Users don't have to do anything additional to receive rebates, as Coupon Widge will automatically solicit and present rebate coupons whenever the product manufacturer makes them available to Coupon Widge users. In embodiments the Coupon Widge rebate process proceeds as follows: The user scans the barcode (Net Dotz) of the item they just purchased; The user scans the barcode (Net Dotz) of the sales receipt—as proof of purchase; The user scans the barcode (Net Dotz) of the rebate coupon; The user receives an instant rebate via electronic payment (iDough) or other means; Or in cases where an instant and/or electronic rebate is not possible, Coupon Widge tracks the payment status of the rebate, which may take weeks.
  • [0701]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present Invention, more particular descriptions of the Invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are, in some cases, illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings and descriptions depict only typical embodiments of the Invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The Invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail via the following applications and use cases.
  • Local Coupons
  • [0702]
    Unlike conventional art local advertising, local advertising using Coupon Widge will only send coupons to recipients who wish to receive such coupons. For example, a neighborhood ice cream shop using Coupon Widge could be wirelessly broadcasting (in a one block radius) a coupon for their premium ice cream. Instead of this coupon spamming all mobile handset users within their broadcast radius, only those mobile handset users who wish to receive ice cream coupons will receive the coupon on their mobile handset. Or coupons delivered, say, as a user walks past a yogurt shop. Coupon Widge facilitates delivery from the yogurt shop's owner's mobile handset (Mobi), coupons to passersby whose profiles indicate a desire for yogurt coupons or who would otherwise be a good candidate to receive a yogurt coupon. Or the pizza parlor using Coupon Widge could be broadcasting (in a five mile radius) coupons highlighting their unique pies, to attract users to their pizza place rather than their competitors. Again, only those users within that radius (who solicited pizza coupons) will receive coupons on their mobile handset (or other digital device the user designates in their coupons profile).
  • Location Based Coupons
  • [0703]
    Coupon Widge enables both coupon senders and coupon recipients to create profiles that set geographic limits for the scope of coupons sent/received (again with an eye toward most users of Coupon Widge using their mobile handset to receive their solicited coupons). Utilizing the mobile handset's location determining facility, coupon senders, using Coupon Widge, will know when a potential customer, that explicitly requested coupons for their product/service, is within a certain distance from their establishment.
  • [0704]
    This distance may differ for different types of establishments. For a restaurant which has not yet filled out its 6 PM dinner service, the revenue lost by unfilled seats at the 6 PM seating is lost forever, but they don't have time to attract customers who are more than a few miles away. So they might broadcast, for instance, via the Internet (or other means) a location-limited coupon, which offers a very local and very timely coupon for tonight's 6 PM dinner service. Coupon Widge's location-based coupons also determine if a user is traveling to another city, and businesses in that city can pay the user to accept coupons prior to (or upon) the user's arrival in that city.
  • [0705]
    Instead of bombarding users with coupons as they near various restaurants, users solicit, via their ComCloud profile broadcast, coupons only for, say, That restaurants, or only for restaurants under $25/person.
  • Timely Coupons
  • [0706]
    Coupon Widge allows both coupon senders and coupon recipients to create profiles that set time/date limits for coupons sent/received (again with an eye toward most users of Coupon Widge using their mobile handset to receive their solicited coupons). For example, it's morning in London; they are a number of plays happening tonight, however not all are sold out. Most patrons/visitors know they can go to the last-minute-tickets booth near the theaters (such as TKTS, which sell discount day-of-performance tickets); however some cannot make it to the booth, but would like to purchase a last minute, discounted ticket. So the users add London Theater Tickets to their Coupon Widge profile, and elect to permit last minute coupons.
  • [0707]
    In embodiments the TKTS booth could send out via the Internet (or other means) a coupon for tonight's plays, with a net price equivalent to that which patrons could receive if they had the time to show up at the ticket booth. In embodiments a user is made aware of the coupon via the user's Coupon Widge widget on the user's mobile handset. Tickets may be purchased directly via the Coupon Widge coupon, or online (or other means) from a user's mobile handset via several modalities, including several proprietary methods (such as iDough, Pay by Widge, and Motran).
  • [0708]
    Alternatively, for those with the TKTS widget/Parasite/Tilz, that widget/ParaSite/Tilz can query the user's Coupon Widge profile to detect interest in receiving certain promotions. And the user's Coupon Widge profile can be informed by the user's calendar. Are they free this evening? Because a user's Coupon Widge profile is on their mobile handset (Mobi), it can interact with the widget in the background. Or even send Coupon Widge profile elements (Tilz) to the TKTS main central server, to solicit discount tickets.
  • Smart Register Receipt Coupons
  • [0709]
    A user's coupon profile CloudCasts to the point of sale (POS) receipt printer, which coupons the user would like to receive. For example if a user just moved to a new town, that user might need a new place to get a haircut, therefore when shopping, his register receipt may print barbershop coupons, instead of random dog food coupons.
  • Piggyback Coupons
  • [0710]
    One user can piggyback on another user's coupons. If the originating user's profile allow this, then the originating user gets paid. For example, user #1 in a store scores a great coupon. User #2 who's also in that store wants to take advantage as well. User #2 pays an instantaneous electronic currency (iDough) fee to the originating user #1, and thereby user #2 receives the same coupon or deal. Product or service companies may even get paid. For example, user #1 scores a BOGO (Buy One Get One free) coupon for detergent. User #2 sees that this is a better coupon for detergent than user #2 already had. How? User #2 has detergent listed in their Coupon Widge profile. User #2 might have only had a 75 cents off coupon, but BOGO is better. However, user #2 has to pay user #1, and possibly even the detergent company, say 10 cents each, to get this deal. Thereby the detergent company, via Coupon Widge, has customers evangelizing on their behalf, and is getting paid. This can be accomplished anonymously: for example, a user receives the following instant message on their phone: “A better coupon deal for detergent has been found by another user in this store. Would you like to pay 20 cents to receive a BOGO coupon for Tide?” This is a truly interactive coupon, which actually engages a customer in realtime, and gets them emotionally (and financially) involved in a company's product transaction. And neither party #1 nor party #2 receive any additional monies, unless they both purchase Tide. Thus users who do a lot of research and find a great deal can, via Coupon Widge, be compensated for their efforts (if the product or service provider allows piggybacking by selling such a deal to others).
  • Piggyback Profiles
  • [0711]
    Originating user #1 whose carefully honed profile is now producing a lot of income or deals for that user, can sell portions of their profile to other users. Other users' profiles get upgraded temporarily to the status of user #1. If the other users use the couponed products with sufficient frequency (i.e. increases their conversion ratio sufficiently), they will get to keep their upgraded profile. Profiles=currency. Other users can pay the originating user to allow them to piggyback on the originating user's great coupon profile. And its a win/win/win situation. The product manufacturer now has their own customer base evangelizing their product. More users are getting better deals on that product (and thus are more loyal). And the merchants are seeing increased unit sales. Coupon Widge can be introduced to businesses by users' ComClouds indicating they are utilizing Coupon Widge—and thereby can act as a salesforce for Coupon Widge.
  • Branded Coupons
  • [0712]
    Companies can offer to sponsor coupons, discounts, and offers made to customers. For instance, a hotel and an airline can team up to make joint travel offers. So if a user flies American Airlines, the user could get a 10% coupon from any downtown London Marriott hotel. Additionally conventional art payment processing and credit card companies such as Visa, MasterCard and AMEX could choose to issue branded coupons via Coupon Widge. A Visa “40 cents off Cheer” coupon can be thought of as the first 40 cents toward a transaction that Visa might be processing anyway.
  • Corporate Uses
  • [0713]
    Corporate uses include the ability to solicit product information from various suppliers, and for those suppliers to offer discounts (coupons). These solicitations can be blind (each supplier only sees the solicitation from the sender, or they can be public (like a reverse auction) so that when a sender requests best coupons, say for 500 two by fours, local lumber yards could choose to bid or not, after seeing what other local lumber yards were bidding.
  • Corporate Brand Elements
  • [0714]
    Tilz allow for branded elements to be embedded in them. For example, a document template might have a coporate logo included on it, in exhange for free use of the document template. In such a case, Coupon Widge users may click on the corporate brand element to solicit a coupon related thereto.
  • [0715]
    Corporations can make available branded elements that user's post on their profile Tilz, or other Tilz, in exchange for coupons for items the user is interested in. Very cool templates that user can get but instead of paying for them, the sponsor covers the cost, in exchange for that profile Tilz element proclaiming, for example, “Built Ford Tough.”
  • Small Business Owners
  • [0716]
    For a small business owners such as a local restaurant, marketing efficiency is important. Thus its important to identify users who are likely customers of that type of restaurant, and not spend marketing dollars reaching people who don't like that type of food. For example, for an Indian food restaurant, it may be difficult via conventional means to limit marketing expenses to just those users who like Indian food. With Coupon Widge, users may have a restaurant profile which lists all the restaurants the user has dined at. Reviewing restaurant profiles, then being able to reach just those desired users (such as those who have dined at Indian restauarants on more than one occasion, or those who do so more than X times per year) is a powerful advantage that Coupon Widge delivers.
  • Custom Versions of Coupons
  • [0717]
    Advertisers can create a plurality of customized versions of each coupon. For example, for a tire coupon, the advertiser might create a version of the coupon that appeals to men, another version that appeals to women, and another version that appeals to teenagers who may be future tire customers. In addition, there may be different forms of the coupons for all destination formats: “junk mail” delivered to a recipient's home, radio coupons, television/set top box coupons, Website banner coupons, and coupons on mobile handsets. Furthermore coupons can also be further customized, within each of the destination formats, by the way various people like to receive their information: all text with lots of facts, or visually within a TV ad that explains how a user would feel when using the product, etc. (as per the recipient's preferences profile).
  • Third Party Profile Integration
  • [0718]
    Coupon Widge may import, for instance, TV viewing data from their digital video recorder (DVR) or grocery store club card data, to enhance a user's Coupon Widge profile. This imported data may be made available via Coupon Widge to advertisers or market research firms, who may in turn, via Coupon Widge or otherwise, send coupons based upon the user's thusly enhanced Coupon Widge profile.
  • Digital Coupon Booklets
  • [0719]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge can eliminate the millions of paper coupon booklets some stores print up and stuff in users' bags at checkout as follows: Users scan the barcode of the proto-booklet available at each point-of-sale (POS) register and aisle caps; The (user profile-sifted) coupons and rebates for that booklet are transmitted into the user's mobile handset in Tilz format; Users don't have to scan all the coupons individually; they may be automatically utilized at checkout via various transaction facilities (such as Motran Networks) and payment facilities (such as iDough); If the store utilizes certain smart labels for its products, they may have RFID tags built in which can interact with the user's profile as the user walks near the item. Coupon Widge can limit the coupons sent to the user to just those coupon types the user solicited in their Coupon Widge profile—so as not to be annoyed by hundreds of coupon offers as the user roams the store's aisles.
  • [0720]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge digital coupon booklets can be electronically available in many languages as follows: Whenever a user receives a digital coupon book, it can be presented via Coupon Widge in the user's native language as per the user's preference profile, as opposed to printed booklets which are usually only available, say, in English, due to cost constraints of printing in multiple languages. This feature may be helpful to persons traveling to a foreign country who want information in their native language about the store's products and services.
  • Captive Advertising Coupons
  • [0721]
    In embodiments Coupon Widge informs captive audience display screens. For example, when a user steps into an elevator or is at a gas station pump featuring an advertising screen, the user's mobile handset, via Bluetooth or other means, may broadcast the user's Coupon Widge profile and coupons may be sent that the user has solicited. Coupons thusly delivered can be for gasoline when at the gas station, or products in the mini market at the gas station, or coupons for the carwash attached to the gas station, as well as coupons for businesses near that gas station; but in all cases in accordance with the user's profile. Users can opt to receive coupons (on their mobile handset and via postal mail, etc.) that relate to those products/services being advertised on the captive screen. Alternatively the user may scan the barcode/RFID directly from the ad on the screen to receive the coupon. In emerging-market countries with limited Internet access, providing a place where users update their profiles/Tilz at a captive location (which might be one of the few places in town which has Internet access) may be crucial.
  • Competition Coupons
  • [0722]
    While buying Tide detergent, in realtime, in the store, standing at the user's cart, get paid to allow Cheer detergent to send a competition coupon. Coupons can become ads. When a user receives a competition coupon, they might want to know why Cheer is better than Tide. To turn the coupon into an ad the user simply taps on the coupon to get the Cheer ad Tilz. The ad Tilz that the user receives will be in accordance with the user's preferences profile (Web Pref) and advertising (Ad Widge) profiles. The ad Tilz might be a 10-second video the user watches ala minute (right then) on their mobile device or the user might choose to receive more detailed ads via the car radio on their drive home from the store or even during their TV viewing that evening.
  • Request More Information About Ads/Shows/Movies Seen on TV
  • [0723]
    Users watching television who, for instance, see an advertisement for a product they would like more information about can wirelessly submit a Request For Information (RFI) to the product manufacturer via Coupon Widge. Alternatively, the user sees something on TV, (for example, the shirt that TV actor was wearing), wants more information, and receives a coupon for $5 off that shirt from Macy's. The response to this RFI can be to send, via Coupon Widge, the user a coupon or a longer advertisement, or a brochure in the mail or e-brochure, etc. according to the requester's preference profile (Web Pref). In embodiments the user interacts with the TV via the use of a widget (Tube Widge) that completes a Bluetooth (or WiFi or other) handshake and information exchange between the user's mobile handset and the user's TV via the user's DVR, set top box, or other means. Identification of the proper ad or show or movie or other thing that the user desires more information about is possible for those ads/shows/movies or other things encoded/labeled with a digital IP address (IPv21#) or IP digital barcode (Net Dotz), or via utilization of the TV metadata broadcast, or via other means.
  • Reverse Coupons
  • [0724]
    In cases where Coupon Widge forms groups of users who are about to make a certain purchase, in a certain geographic area (say those imminently ready to buy 4 tires, or even just a bag of charcoal for their weekend BBQs), Coupon Widge via means such as digital task agents (Victors Botz) or ComCloud CloudCast, solicit companies who wish to offer the best fulfillment of this need. Reverse coupons are for those advertisers which may prefer to deal with groups of users, rather than one-to-one marketing, and one-to-one coupons.
  • [0000]
    Patient or Client Communiqués
  • [0725]
    Doctors, for instance, can, via Coupon Widge, send coupons along with information about procedures or tests that the doctor thinks that patient should consider undergoing. Consultants or any vendor with clients can send coupons to their existing client base seeking to entice them into purchasing additional products or services. For instance, personal shoppers at fine department stores often keep customer database lists of hundreds or thousands of names. Personal shoppers could send coupons with pictures or videos of outfits or accessories that are on sale or would particularly suit a given client demographic, as per users' Coupon Widge profiles.
  • New Customer Follow Up
  • [0726]
    The week after a customer makes their first purchase in a store (online or offline) is one of the best times to market to that customer. Retailers, as per users' Coupon Widge profile, could send coupons to that user's mobile handset in the days following that first purchase to attempt to entice the customer to come back and purchase more of that store's products.
  • Multi Coupons
  • [0727]
    Multi coupons refers to different coupons for different users all watching the same show. For example, four users are sitting on a couch watching the same TV show. During commercial breaks, different commercials are delivered (via means such as WiFi or Bluetooth or other) to each user's mobile handset whereupon each user receives customized, and possibly differing, coupons. Then when the commercial break is over, users return to all watching the same content on the TV.
  • [0728]
    The present Invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the Invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims in addition to all foregoing descriptions. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims and foregoing descriptions are to be embraced within their scope.
  • The Wireless Location-Establishing Device Provides a Platform for Customizable, Portable, Auto-Syncing Local Websites
  • [0729]
    A system, method, service and platform for providing customizable, portable, auto-syncing Websites are disclosed. The present Invention (“ParaSites”) is the next evolution of a Website—portable Websites which also, or even exclusively, live on the user's digital devices of choice; not just at the hosting server. Because they are stored locally, ParaSites are available and functional on devices such as a user's mobile handset, even when an Internet connection is not available. Having Websites always available—on the user's personal computer and on their television and on their mobile handset—changes how users interact with Websites. Websites become much less of a one-way information presentation vehicle, and more of an interactive, constant companion to the user, anticipating and supplying the required/desired digital content or services.
  • [0730]
    Up until now (2003), Websites have been an information display vehicle which the user has to “go” to, as opposed to the information being at the user's fingertips when desired. Furthermore, Websites can be difficult to deal with vis a vis fundamental aspects: it can be expensive, trying, and/or time consuming to obtain a domain name, have said domain hosted, and then create the Website. Very few individuals, as compared to the world's population, are conversant in HTML, a lingua franca for Websites. And thus, most individuals are unable to personally and quickly achieve what one might wish to achieve via a Website: share, exchange or otherwise display information such that one or more parties or entities can access and utilize said information, and thereby potentially engage in interactions or transactions or other concerts.
  • [0731]
    The present Invention (hereafter “ParaSites”), is conceived as a response to the above-described deficiencies of the conventional art. ParaSites turn the concept of a Website on its head—instead of users going to Websites, Websites now live wherever the users are.
  • [0732]
    Rather than the users having to interrupt the tasks of their day to go to a PC, sit down, and surf to a Website, ParaSites' proprietary technology enables users to have the Websites of their choice live and reside on the user's digital device of their choice. For some users the digital device of choice will be the mobile handset, for others it will be the TV (or other device). Shifting usage locales (to multiple and/or unconventional locales such as gaming rigs, cars, et. al.) drives demand for new incarnations of Websites. Present: a Website is a place where users “go.” Future (with ParaSites): a Website is a place where users already “are.” Websites at users fingertips is the next wave.
  • [0733]
    In embodiments, ParaSites contain a user-selected subset of a conventional Website's content—just those items the ParaSites user most frequently needs access to. A ParaSite's content can be synced with the main Website when the user has connectivity to the Internet. However, users may obtain a more updated version of the ParaSite from a plurality of locations, including other users' devices via means such as Bluetooth.
  • [0734]
    Websites have been around for years without major change. They were largely designed for a user sitting at a personal computer (PC) who has to actively take steps to connect with the Website to access its contents.
  • [0735]
    Websites were designed around the idea of a buffet at which the user can graze for the sought after information. And while such a design paradigm has worked fairly well to date, a tectonic shift is occurring in the computing industry.
  • [0736]
    At over 20 years of age the PC is reaching maturity, and a new hardware platform, the mobile handset, is being ushered in as the preferred computing platform. In some markets, mobile handsets outsell PCs almost 10:1. And more than a billion mobile handsets are sold each year. In fact there are now more mobile handset users on earth, than non-mobile handset users.
  • [0737]
    As the tectonic shift unfolds, and more and more users migrate to the mobile handset as their primary computing platform, it drives demand for the next generation of all things digital, including the Web stalwart—the venerable Website.
  • [0738]
    Users often utilize but a tiny fraction of available content on a given Website during a given session. Thus it would be desirable to determine which content a user is likely to want to interact with and present just that subset of content/information to the user a priori. Furthermore, there are billions of people on earth with differing preferences as to how they'd like content/information presented to them. Therefore it is desirable to customize the content/information presentation as per user preferences. Still further, networks, and in particular wireless networks, may be challenged to expeditiously deliver the geometrically growing volume of content/information. Therefore it is desirable to push such content/information as close as possible to the user, to facilitate efficient content/information delivery (similar to conventional content delivery networks, such as Akamai). ParaSites' customizable, portable, auto-syncing Websites address the aforementioned deficiencies, by automatic/manual creation of portable Websites (ParaSites) which also, or even exclusively, live on the user's digital devices of choice; not just at the hosting server.
  • Local Shift
  • [0739]
    It's time for technology to serve users rather than the other way around. And in that vein, it's time for the Website to do a better job of meeting users' needs. One way this can be accomplished is to shift the “location” of Websites from the Internet to the users' digital devices.
  • [0740]
    ParaSites enable Website owners and Website users to create, manage and utilize a customized local copy of a Website on the digital device of the user's choice. The local copy of the Website, the ParaSite, contains just the information from the Website that the user wishes ready access to—not the entire Website contents.
  • Favorites
  • [0741]
    Instead of users going to Websites, favorite Websites come to users. ParaSites enables live local versions of a user's chosen Websites to be available on the user's PC, and their TV, and their mobile handset (and other devices)—even when an Internet connection is not available.
  • [0742]
    Most users have a dozen or so Websites they regularly visit. Users can keep local copies, ParaSites, of those Websites on, say, their mobile handset. ParaSites can be displayed and interacted with via a touchscreen display. ParaSites contain the user Preference Profile customizable version of those Websites and are automatically updated each time a user has Internet access (or via other means).
  • Website Functions
  • [0743]
    Websites have two primary functions: display information and execute tasks. As an information display vehicle a Website often contains far more information than any one individual Website user actually utilizes on any given visit to that Website. Furthermore, when executing a task, software often resides on a remote Web server, and thus there are performance deficiencies as compared to that same task being executed by software code on a local device. That is to say, software runs more efficiently and smoothly when on, say, a user's PC, than when accessing that same code set remotely via a network connection wherein the code is resident on a remote server.
  • [0744]
    Accordingly it is desirable in some circumstances to have both the information sought, and the software code, local—actually on the digital device the user is utilizing at the moment. Hence the present Invention (“ParaSites”) which provides customizable, portable, auto-syncing local Websites.
  • Information Overload
  • [0745]
    Often when a user goes to a Website, the user utilizes less than 1% of the total information content at that Website. Furthermore, in many cases, users to a given Website utilize a similar set of information each time they visit a given Website—for instance, view the top political news articles from the CNN Website.
  • [0746]
    ParaSites anticipate this usage trait, by pre-downloading data/content from a conventional Website, to the local ParaSite version on the user's digital device of choice. That is to say, ParaSites software studies the user's information usage patterns, and serves up that information, say, each morning, to the user's ParaSite, so the user doesn't have to “go” to the CNN Website and grab the information sought.
  • [0747]
    Furthermore, by having the information/content local, the user has a functional value product, without need for a live Internet connection. Not only is this desirable in many wealthier countries, but this is particularly important in second and third world countries.
  • [0748]
    In second and third world countries, it may be decades, if ever, before the network infrastructure approaches that of first world countries. Therefore, a new type of Website is desirable, that lives locally, actually on user's devices, and which can be obtained and shared by non-Internet means.
  • [0749]
    In first world countries, paying $100/month for a minutes and data cellphone plan may seem reasonable, but for some second and third world countries, $100/month may be an entire month's wages. ParaSites were conceived to suit the needs of a 5 billion person addressable market, instead of the 1 to 2 billion person addressable market, ostensibly sought by today's “leading” makers of various digital devices.
  • Website Evolution
  • [0750]
    Websites have evolved over the years, and have now become something of a dumping ground for the Website owning entity. The Website owning entities often dump just about every available datum onto their Website, which over time results in a cluttered user-interface, or complex search experience to locate the desired information; or area wherein one can perform the desired task.
  • [0751]
    And similar to the situation where a user utilizes perhaps just 1% of a Website's data, most users utilize only a tiny fraction of any given software program's functionality. Thus Website owning entities can review which specific features of their Website software applications are utilized most often, and deliver just those features via a local widget (Webified mini software application)—which is part of the ParaSite.
  • [0752]
    Functionality and data access, and more importantly the most often utilized functionality and data, are the subsets that inform each entity's ParaSite. The paradigm shift to a new computing platform—the forthcoming smartphone (and other mobile/smaller computing devices)—provides impetus for Website-owning entities to re-examine the interface with their users, and ParaSites are the perfect platform to meet these emerging needs.
  • [0753]
    And as more and more users move to the emerging mobile device platform, such devices may become the primary tool for interacting and transacting. Thus, developers need to deliver not just static software applications that run on mobile devices, but live applications; live data access (via, for instance, the conventional Website), and live transactability (such as being to transfer money from checking to savings). ParaSites provides a development platform for the next generation of computing devices. It should be noted, however, that ParaSites are not limited to the forthcoming mobile devices, and are designed to be functional on almost any digital device, including legacy PCs, as well as other devices such as gaming consoles, set top boxes, TVs, and other devices.
  • [0754]
    Websites are information delivery vehicles as well as interaction/transaction vehicles. ParaSites also deliver local and/or offline interaction/transaction capability. ParaSites provide custom versions of Websites with just the content the user desires, presented the way the user desires, and available to the user anytime, anywhere on any device, even offline. With Parasites, users can take their Websites with them all day long, wherever they go in their real life, so they can be useful to the user, right when and how the user needs them. Instead of delivering a bloated Website, with (potentially extraneous) information such as all prior Press Releases, to a user's mobile device, the ParaSite delivers just the capability/information sought by the user. For example, for a pizza delivery company Website, instead of delivering gigabytes of undesired data such as ten years of past Annual Reports, the Pizza Delivery Company ParaSite, includes the ability to review the menu and place orders—and perhaps not much more. Study what 80% of users do with a given Website 80% of the time, and deliver just that functionality/data. Users who want more functionality/data can either download such functionality/data to their ParaSite, or access such functionality/data on the conventional main/parent/hosted Website via the ParaSite. ParaSite's user interface is configured such that, in embodiments, accessing the conventional main/parent/hosted Website is seamless process that may be undetectable by the user (if such a configuration is deemed desirable by the Website owner/user).
  • [0755]
    Websites were invented over a decade ago, and have changed very little in the meantime. The mobile device revolution and the variety of screens upon which Website content will be viewed informs the desirability of new modalities for Websites. ParaSites are the future, driven by the mobile device revolution. A customized experience where users are first, and users get paid for utilizing a new, more convenient, mobile, and always available form of a Website—a ParaSite.
  • [0756]
    The present Invention is described in one or more embodiments in the following description with references to the Figures. While the Invention is described in terms of the primary modes for achieving the Invention's objectives, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the Invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents as supported by the disclosures and drawings herein.
  • [0757]
    A primary purpose of the system, method, service and platform for providing customizable, portable, auto-syncing Websites described herein is to advance Website technology into the mobile age. The disclosed system, method, service and platform enable a novel form of always available Websites. Websites on the user's personal computer and on their television and on their mobile handset, et. al. changes how users interact with Websites. Websites become much less of a one-way information presentation vehicle, and more of an interactive, constant companion to the user, anticipating and supplying the required/desired digital content or services.
  • [0758]
    Although various embodiments of the Invention extend to any system, method, service and/or platform that operates in accordance with the principles described herein, one embodiment is described in the context of a Website, server software and one or more widgets (Webified mini software applications) that are collectively referred to herein as “ParaSites”.
  • [0759]
    According to this embodiment of ParaSites, the server software, Website and/or widgets enable users to create a customized, interactive subset of a primary, conventional hosted Website. The ParaSites Website and/or widget(s) contain in addition to local Website management and customization features, social networking tools such as profiles, comment sharing, blogging, chat, message boards, media sharing, social mapping and tagging.
  • Software
  • [0760]
    The adaptive server software of the present Invention is capable of analyzing the usage of Websites (including local Websites, such as ParaSites) and various sections of Websites. The software produces as an output analysis of and reports about the data collected from hosted Websites and ParaSites usage. Such information does not reveal any personal information about any one user; instead it provides Website owners aggregate information about the effectiveness of their hosted and local Websites. Reports include unique full-color, three-dimensional views of hosted and local Website section by section usage information.
  • Compatibility
  • [0761]
    Website owners do not have to rewrite their Websites to make them ParaSites compatible. All the information on a hosted Website can be utilized as-is; it is just divided into “tiles” to make it easier for users to pull the desired sections/information to the ParaSite. Website owners can make their Website's ParaSite compatible in two primary ways:
  • [0762]
    The ParaSites widget can generally pull content from most Websites' publicly accessible Webpage. When a ParaSites widget user clicks on a particular section of a Website, the ParaSites widget creates a generic template for that Website and pulls the selected content into that template (if the Website allows such data/content to be copied or utilized in that fashion). That is to say, ParaSites software is able to create a basic “Website clip” of many hosted Websites, without need for those hosted Websites to take any action.
  • [0763]
    For those Website owners who want their users to have an even richer local Website (ParaSite) experience they can optionally download and run additional software in accordance with the principles of the Invention. This software crawls the software code for that Website, and produces a ParaSites compatible Website by creating a “tiles” version of the Website (FIG. 39). “Tiles” or its homonym “Tilz” as referred to herein shall mean that every element of a Website—sections, articles, ads, diagrams, etc.—are each placed in an invisible, separate tile. The Website will appear exactly the same as before, but each element of a Website is now compartmentalized into its own tile (Tilz). This enables users of the ParaSite widget who click on any particular element—tile—of a Website, to selectively pull just that section to their ParaSite.
  • [0764]
    For Websites that are login/password protected, the user typically must login before being able to create a ParaSite. An exception to this rule is the ability for information technology (IT) personnel at companies to add the company ParaSites in fleet fashion to the digital devices of various groups of their company employees.
  • Builder Software
  • [0765]
    The builder software is used by Website owners to create a feature-rich ParaSites-compatible Website. In embodiments this software is compatible with Website creation software programs, so that users can create a ParaSites-compatible Website as they create their Internet Service Provider (ISP)—or self-hosted Website. The software adds a drop-down menu item to compatible Website creation programs. When a user selects this menu item, a version of the Website is saved in ParaSites compatible format (FIG. 37).
  • User Setup Widget
  • [0766]
    The ParaSites setup widget is utilized by Website users to: Create a local copy of a particular Website on those devices the user specifies; and Create a local copy that conforms to the user's preferences profile (which includes such things as which information the user would like displayed, and how to display it).
  • [0767]
    The ParaSites setup widget also provides a point-and-click tool to enable users to click on the content they want from a Website, and just that particular content will be replicated on the ParaSite (in accordance with any data/content usage restrictions the host Website may place upon its contents).
  • Customized
  • [0768]
    ParaSites are tiles-based customized local copies of Websites that reside on the user's mobile handset or other device such as a PC or TV. Local copies enable users of a Website to have continuous access to just the portion of that Website's content that is most important to that user. Most users access less than 1% of a typical Website, so users can now pull just that 1% to their ParaSite. If, however, the user wants to view content not stored locally in their ParaSite, they can, in embodiments, click on a ParaSites link to be taken to the full content on the conventional version of that Website (when Internet connectivity is available).
  • Layout
  • [0769]
    ParaSites users have several options to choose from for how ParaSite contents are displayed. They can be displayed in the same format as the conventional version of the Website, or they can be displayed in a “tiles” format, which presents each section of a Website on a separate tile which users can flick through to find the desired content.
  • Size Format
  • [0770]
    ParaSites generally present Websites in the mobile handset size format—even on TVs or PCs. ParaSites can, however, re-size to fit any sized screen.
  • Self-Hostable
  • [0771]
    ParaSites don't necessarily require an Internet service provider (ISP) (or conventional computer server) to host them. Website owners don't have to start with a Website that is hosted, for instance, at an ISP and convert it to a ParaSite—they can forgo the traditional Website, and simply create a ParaSite as the “main” Website. Website owners can create ParaSites, and “host” the ParaSites, say, on their mobile handset. Other users who “subscribe” to that ParaSite will get updated information/Tilz synced to their local copy of that ParaSite when both parties are simultaneously connected to the Internet, or both parties are simultaneously peer-to-peer connected via other means such as Bluetooth.
  • Different for Different Devices
  • [0772]
    ParaSites can be different on different devices for the same user. For example, a user might keep a robust, and much larger—in terms of storage capacity utilized—local copy (ParaSite) of a given Website on their PC and DVR, but only a basic/skeleton version on their storage-space-limited mobile handset. ParaSites also enables users to create a different ParaSite profile for each type of digital device they utilize ParaSites on.
  • Profile Manager
  • [0773]
    The ParaSites Profile Manager is where a user selects both generally and specifically which and which type of content they would like to keep locally on each of their digital devices.
  • Data Storage Management
  • [0774]
    The Profile Manager is also where the user manages data storage. Users set storage space allocations for individual ParaSites as well as the total amount of storage to be allocated to the user's entire ParaSites collection. As the user's storage space limitations are approached, the ParaSites software can automatically delete some of the ParaSites (or sections/Tilz of ParaSites) from the user's local collection, according to criteria the user sets in their preference profile (least frequently used, longest time since use, etc.).
  • Me Too
  • [0775]
    The Me Too ParaSite enables users to automatically receive the ParaSites version of a particular Website that is, for instance, most popular for their particular or selected affinity group. For example, if a user is a motorcycle enthusiast, they could indicate in their ParaSite Profile that they would like to receive the version of a ParaSite that other bikers are most frequently viewing/using.
  • Touchscreen Compatible
  • [0776]
    ParaSites are touchscreen compatible enabling users to control content, using, for instance, flicking motions with their fingers on compatible display screens.
  • Offline Functionality
  • [0777]
    ParaSites continue to function and be useful in offline mode, when not connected to the Internet. Users can get updated information not just when connected to the Internet, but also when anyone else within, say, Bluetooth range has that same ParaSite, but has an updated version of its content/Tilz. ParaSites can execute offline transactions. Since the ParaSite code is local and profile based, users can engage in interactions and transactions via peer-to-peer modalities, even while neither party has any network access. Offline users can easily trade/exchange ParaSites elements (Tilz) mobile handset to handset via Bluetooth or other means. Additionally users may engage in asynchronous transactions. In embodiments, offline users engage in a transaction via ParaSite, which is later synced to remote sources for transaction confirmation/execution when one or both parties is connected to the Internet.
  • [0778]
    The Invention employs and incorporates many unique technologies, such as the ability to execute transactions directly from a ParaSite, even while offline, as per the detailed descriptions below.
  • [0779]
    Having generally described operation of the systems, methods, service and platform for customizable, portable, auto-syncing local Websites, various embodiments will be described with respect to FIGS. 30-39.
  • [0780]
    Referring to the accompanying drawings wherein the same reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements:
  • [0781]
    FIG. 30 shows an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of a customizable, portable, auto-syncing local Websites system, method, service, and platform in accordance with the Invention which is designated generally as system 3000.
  • [0782]
    System 3000, hereafter “ParaSites,” consists of client and server software configured to transform a provided ordered dataset, such as a Website, into a resultant ordered dataset, which, in embodiments, is a subset of the provided dataset. In particular system 3000 is configured to translate markup language format (MLF) 3003 data into a proprietary markup language format (PMLF) 3004 which accords certain additional functionality and usability.
  • [0783]
    FIG. 30 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of the transmutation process 3000, wherein a plurality of content 3001 on a traditional Website 3005 is filtered as per a user's profile for just the desired subset of content 3002, which is then transferred to the user's device as a ParaSite 3006, a customized local copy of the Website.
  • [0784]
    A flow diagram 3000 illustrates an embodiment of a method/process for extracting 3010 the profile-based subset of data/content which informs the ParaSite—the customized local copy of the Website 3006. The input agent 3007 identifies the markup language format (MLF) 3003 for the provided dataset. The job processor 3008 determines when a proprietary markup language format (PMLF) 3004 dataset is desired and communicates instructions to the translator 3010. The translator 3010 generates a PMLF dataset 3011 in response to the instructions and as per the user's profile 3009. The translator 3010 integrates user profile information 3009 into the resultant PMLF dataset 3011 metadata, that continues to inform further modifications to the PMLF dataset 3011, including recursive profile-parametric driven passes of the described process. That is to say, as changes to a user's profile are logged, the PMLF dataset 3011 is transformed, as per above, in active response thereto.
  • [0785]
    In embodiments the input agent 3007 is directed to a provided dataset, such as a Website 3005, wherein the input agent 3007 crawls provided Website's software code, which may be presented in markup language formats such as hypertext markup language format (HTML) or other formats. An extraction module 3008 is configured to extract the plurality of information contained therein into data “tiles” (or the homonym thereto, data “Tilz”). The result of this extraction is that Website features such as text, pictures, video content, advertisements, et. al. are separated into discrete logical groups and subgroups, as arranged into separate data tiles (Tilz).
  • [0786]
    A profiling module 3009 configured to track and log individual Tilz usage patterns, is thereby able to produce ordered lists of Tilz, per various parameters such as frequency of use. An algorithm facility processes such ordered lists by heuristic methods, the result of which is the promotion or demotion of individual elements comprising the list, in order to proffer suggested Tilz for inclusion in the user's Website subset (the Parasite). Users may also manually select individual elements (Tilz) they wish included in, or excluded from, their ParaSite. The profiling module 3009 is also configured to adjust the mix of included/excluded Tilz based upon external profiles, such as the user's profiles 3301. External profiles may include items such as user preferences for how, when and where a user likes information presented (thus informing differences between a users mobile handset ParaSite version as compared to the user's PC ParaSite version); as well as other profiles containing information regarding groups of users, with whom the subject user may have affinity, and based upon the Tilz affinity group users included in, or excluded from, their ParaSites, the given user may wish to include/exclude such Tilz in the given user's ParaSite(s).
  • [0787]
    The translator 3010 then extracts the profile-matched Tilz into the local subset Website, the ParaSite 3006—a portable version of the parent Website 3005. Data/content from the parent Website is not just filtered (from a plurality of content, to just the desired subset of content) but also transformed into mobile digital-content format (MDF) 3004—a proprietary markup language format (previously referred to herein as PMLF) that makes viewing and using applications and digital content on mobile devices much easier.
  • [0788]
    In embodiments ParaSites 3006 include links back to the parent Website 3005, should further information be desired, that is not otherwise included in the ParaSite 3006. The profiling module 3009 records such links/content usage, and can thereby update the mix of included/excluded Tilz for the user's ParaSite 3006. Tilz included in or excluded from the ParaSite 3006, are also based upon factors such as the user-selected storage space allocated to the ParaSite 3006. Users may have different versions of ParaSites 3311, 3312, 3313 for different devices, all based upon the same parent Website 3314. That is to say, for any given parent Website, a user may include fewer Tilz for their mobile handset ParaSite 3313, and more Tilz for their PC 3311 or TV 3312 ParaSite, where more storage capacity may be available.
  • [0789]
    In embodiments the profiling module 3009 is configured to recursively apply its process, on an ongoing basis, to facilitate the updating of the set of Tilz included in a user's ParaSite. In addition, the input module 3007 flags changes to Tilz, and synchronizes such changes, for instance, made to parent Website Tilz 3001, to the user's ParaSite Tilz 3002. Such synchronization may be effected by a plurality of means, remotely or locally, via the Internet or peer-to-peer via Bluetooth respectively. Regarding peer-to-peer synchronization, if user 1 is in Bluetooth range of user 2 who has a newer version of a Tilz containing updated information as compared to user 1's version, then such DIFF differential data can be exchanged (subject to content rights usage).
  • [0790]
    Selecting 3008 for content 3007 deemed most desirable 3009 by the user, the content subset 3010 is ported 3011 for local use on a user's various devices, and subscribed to parent content 3007 for updates 3009, hence the present Invention: customizable, portable, auto-syncing local Websites 3000.
  • [0791]
    FIG. 31 is a depiction of an embodiment of a method for users to navigate through the thumbnail tiles 3102 representing their various custom, local Websites (ParaSites); which can be accomplished on a touchscreen by flicking through the tiles with one's finger.
  • [0792]
    Regarding navigation among various ParaSites, in embodiments a user is presented with fanned deck of tiles 3102 (Tilz) each representing a ParaSite; and which is particularly convenient for smaller screen sizes such as those on mobile handsets. The cover Tilz 3101 for the ParaSite can present user selectable data, such as a thumbnail photograph or other image, that conveys the essence of the ParaSite at a glance; further such a cover Tilz can include live data updates, pending a user's network (or other) connection to the parent Website for same.
  • [0793]
    FIG. 32 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example of an unique information management facility, wherein ParaSites (custom, local Websites) a user receives are received in thumbnail tiles 3101, 3102 that are mapped onto (in this case) spheres 3201, 3202; whereupon the spheres information management facility (hereafter “Spherez”) attracts like content to it, for which the user may be paid directly by information-sending entities, for prominent placement on the user's Spherez. A Spherez 3201, 3202 is a convenient navigation modality for ParaSites, particularly on mobile handset-sized devices.
  • [0794]
    In embodiments Spherez 3201, 3202 are dedicated to topics, such as user's “Hobbies” Spherez. Those ParaSites with content relating to a given Spherez' topic are mapped onto that Spherez. For example, is a user is an aficionado of lepidoptery, then ParaSites related to the study of moths and butterflies may automatically be mapped onto that Spherez. Then, automatically and continuously, that Spherez continues to attract like content. So if that Spherez, when connected for instance to the Internet, or by peer-to-peer means, or by other means, finds content tagged “moths” or “butterflies” then it could, as per the user's ParaSite profile, pull that ParaSite to the user's “Hobbies” Spherez. For example, the Invention may create a ParaSite, as per content tags, from the massive California State Parks Website, consisting of just that information relating to Natural Bridges State Beach, whereto impressive masses of monarch butterflies migrate each year. The Invention pulls those Tilz, as per system 3000 into a ParaSite, which is then mapped onto the user's Spherez.
  • [0795]
    The same ParaSite may be mapped onto many Spherez according to, for instance, tags which are applied by the user manually, ParaSites automatically, or even tags supplied by third parties. For example, information relating to Natural Bridges State Beach, could also be mapped onto other user's “Beach” or “California” Spherez.
  • [0796]
    Spherez also are unique as an information management facility in that they may be monetized on behalf of the user by ParaSites. For example, if a user had a “Pizza” Spherez, then the (Tilz representing) ParaSites for the user's favorite pizza parlors might by mapped thereupon. However, in a variation upon paid search (where in this case the user gets paid, as opposed to the middleman search company) a pizza company could offer, via ParaSite, to pay the user for priority placement on the user's Spherez. Priority could be accorded to any number of user-selected factors such as being in the center position of the Tilz, which is seen prominently each time the user engages that Spherez. A pizza company might even offer to pay the user to be the exclusive pizza delivery ParaSite, on a user's mobile handset (or other device).
  • [0797]
    With ParaSites Spherez, Websites become much less of a one-way information presentation vehicle, and more of an interactive, constant companion to the user, anticipating and supplying the required/desired digital content or services.
  • [0798]
    FIG. 33 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture for a method whereby real world interactions inform changes to a user's ParaSite.
  • [0799]
    A user 3300, Bob, is moving about in the real world, and based upon interactions in the real world, Bob's travel profile 3307 is updated, which informs Bob's CNN ParaSites 3311, 3312, 3313, which are custom, local copies of the parent CNN.com Website 3314; and each of Bob's ParaSites is different depending upon the profile of the device the ParaSite is on.
  • [0800]
    For example, if there is political unrest in a country a user is traveling to, per their travel profile 3307, the user's (Bob's) ParaSites 3311, 3312, 3313, may automatically receive news stories/videos/etc. (as captured in data tiles, or data Tilz) from CNN.com 3314 regarding that country. And each Tilz of information is delivered (to the individual ParaSites 3311, 3312, 3313) as per the user's preference profile 3301. For instance, a text alert to the user's mobile device 3304, an article with photos to the user's PC 3302, and a video clip of the unrest to the user's TV 3303.
  • [0801]
    Websites, now ParaSites, respond in realtime to each user's actual life events.
  • [0802]
    FIG. 34 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a method for server-side 3407 profile configuration and transaction facilitation as per mobile handset 3409 scanning 3410 and broadcast 3414.
  • [0803]
    Profiles are the key to ParaSites. It's not just about smaller, local Websites, it's about Websites that morph to a user's needs, as informed by user profiles.
  • [0804]
    ParaSites server-side facilities 3407 are provided. A profile serving and matching facility 3402 is configured to transmit profiles to/from mobile handsets 3409 as well as other remote devices 3411, 3412. The profile serving and matching facility 3402 works in conjunction with the algorithm facility 3405 which is configured to filter and match a plurality of available information/ads/offers/et. al. (configured into data “tiles” or the homonym thereto, data “Tilz”) based upon metadata for each such information/ads/offers/et. al., against profiles 3403, 3301 of items a user has indicated a desire to receive (or not) information/ads/offers/et. al. for. A database server 3403 facilitates user profiles and preferences, as well as a rules facility by which certain actions must accord. A ParaSite creation facility is configured, as per system 3000, to create ParaSites, and refresh and sync the content thereof. A module is configured for storage, reception, transmission and broadcast 3401, 3414, 3301 of messages and other data, and in particular those data configured into profiles (a module hereafter referred to as “ComCloud”). The ComCloud module includes profile creation, filtering, and matching facilities.
  • [0805]
    ParaSites widget client-side facilities 3409 are provided configured for operation on mobile handsets 3409 and other devices. A ParaSite creation facility is configured, as per system 3000, to create ParaSites, and refresh and sync the content thereof. A ComCloud module is configured for operation by the ParaSites widget.
  • [0806]
    Users create new or update existing profiles 3403, 3301 by a plurality of means, including, for instance, scanning an ad 3410 in a newspaper for an item a user is interested in. The scan results in a query which returns a data tile (Tilz), about the subject item, to the user's mobile handset 3409. For example, if the user scanned an ad for a bottle of Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine, and received the Tilz for same, the client-side ParaSite widget 3409 queries the user as to whether or not the user would like to receive information/ads/offers/et. al. pertaining to Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The user's profile is updated presently by (the ParaSites client-side software on the user's mobile device 3409, and/or) the ParaSites server-side facilities 3407, which receive transmission of the query results via a plurality of communication modalities 3408. The user's updated profile is returned therefrom to the user's ParaSites widget 3409 for inclusion in the user's profile broadcast 3414, 3301 (ComCloud). The ComCloud 3414, 3301 can be configured for various broadcast distances from global to just a few feet. For example, the mobile handset ComCloud 3414 may be configured for use via Bluetooth, which has limited range. Bluetooth range may be sufficient however to reach restaurants or pubs 3417 the user is passing by which might otherwise be able to provision and/or sell the user-desired bottle of wine (and effect the transaction pursuant thereto via ComCloud).
  • [0807]
    Profiles inform Parasites creation, as per system 3000. That is to say, as a user moves about in the real world, conducting life in such a fashion that along the way, the user creates a profile of objects, people, ideas, anything of interest at all, that now inform the information presented via ParaSites. ParaSites are unique in that they “know” their user; and provide desired information when and where and how a user would like it. For example, a user interested in wine may have a “Wines” Spherez. If so, then when the user scans the ad 3410 for the bottle of Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon, then Websites for entities that can supply the user that bottle of Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine, may be added (and possibly pay the user to be added) as ParaSites to the user's “Wines” Spherez. Thusly, do ParaSites Spherez revolutionize search.
  • [0808]
    The user didn't have to take any time “searching” for where to find the Beringer wine; the information came to the user. Furthermore, just like paid search, a wine-supplying entity might choose to pay the user, via ParaSites, for premium placement on the use's “Wines” Spherez. And further, a wine store, such as BevMo, which may carry Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine, may wish to send the user an advertisement; an ad customized for this user, that added to their regular 30-second advertisement, is a custom voice-over or onscreen message touting Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine or coupons related thereto. Such an ad could be sent to the user's TV 3411 ParaSite—where the ad could be streamed onscreen. Thusly, do ParaSites Spherez revolutionize advertising, marketing, and merchandising.
  • [0809]
    The embodiments related hereto are essentially endless, and compelling, and unique.
  • [0810]
    FIG. 35 is a flow diagram illustrating an embodiment of example process steps followed by ad-sending entities 3505 as they first pay 3503 a user 3501 to view and review a user's profile 3506, to thereby determine if it's advantageous to pay 3504 to send the user ads 3512; and further consider paying additional monies 3504 for priority data placement 3513 (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user is paid; as opposed to paying a middleman/search entity). Among a plurality of ways and means to send ads to users, sending ads to users' topic-specific Spherez is hereby included (which, in embodiments, appear as Tilz mapped onto the Spherez). And priority data placement may include cases where, for example, a pizza delivery company pays for priority placement of their ParaSite on a user's “Pizza” Spherez; or to be the only pizza delivery ParaSite on a user's mobile handset.
  • [0811]
    In embodiments, via ParaSites 3502, users profiles 3301 are made available to ad-sending entities 3505, who pay 3503 the user 3501 for the right to examine and evaluate 3506 said profiles. Advertisers may pay the user a one time fee, for access to the user's profiles for a fixed amount of time, or may subscribe to the user's profiles as per a fixed or ongoing periodical fee structure. Based upon the profile information, advertisers then decide 3507 if it is advantageous to pay the user to send ads to said user. If not 3508, then advertisers may offer to send ads for free. Users may interact with advertisers directly or let ParaSites negotiate 3511 on behalf of the user. In this case ParaSites sets flag to ACCEPT for the subject ad if the user has set their preference profile MIN CHARGE (minimum charge) to zero. If not the subject ad profile flag is set to REJECT.
  • [0812]
    In the case where the ad-sending entity considers it advantageous to send this user ads, which sets a transaction flag to PROCEED, ParaSites then presents the ad-sending entity with the user's MIN_CHARGE fee. For any given profile, vis a vis setting the MIN_CHARGE, users may set the fee manually or let ParaSites set the fee. ParaSites may set the fee based upon a plurality of factors, including but not limited to comparing MIN_CHARGE fees for other users with a profile similar to the subject user, for the same or similar products (which may be derived by, among other means, matching product metadata tags).
  • [0813]
    At this point 3509, the ad-sending entity is either willing or unwilling to meet the user's MIN_CHARGE. If so, the transaction flag is set to PROCEED, and the ad-sending entity pays the user to send ads 3512. If not, the ad-sending entity may negotiate 3510 with the user, via ParaSites 3511, a lower price to PROCEED. Again, the user may either manually accept this lower price (in response to a query from ParaSites) or allow ParaSites to negotiate on behalf of the user, as per the above description. If no agreement on price is reached the transaction flag is set to STOP, and after providing both parties a receipt for the failed transaction, the transaction flag is set to END. The transaction receipt detail includes information regarding the profile in question, and the amounts one or both parties was willing to pay/accept for review of same, including the DIFF difference amount that caused the transaction to END.
  • [0814]
    For those situations where an ad-sending entity is offering an amount less than the user is willing to accept ParaSites may negotiate 3511 on the user's behalf if the user has set a DIFF percentage, by which means ParaSites may accept/reject a proposed profile review fee from an advertiser; for example, a user may set a MIN_CHARGE of X monetary units/credits, but set a DIFF percentage of 10%, enabling ParaSites to accept a bid of 0.9X, or more, monetary units/credits. (Other embodiments are envisioned wherein ParaSites negotiates on a user's behalf without necessarily setting a DIFF percentage).
  • [0815]
    Understanding that a user may receive several ads from several different ad-sending entities, a ad-sending entity may wish to promote its ad to the top of the “stack.” In which case the ad-sending entity pays the user a premium fee to the user for priority data placement 3513. The process for setting and agreeing to the priority data placement fee can be effected via a number of modalities consistent with the principles of the Invention, including an auction. In the case of an auction, in embodiments, ParaSites presents each of the ad-sending entities a dataset, which details the order in which ParaSites will be presenting the ads to the user. ParaSites informs the ad-sending entities that ParaSites is accepting bids, consisting of additional monetary units/credits, for top priority vis a vis the ordered list detailing the order in which ParaSites will present the ads to the user. After receiving all the bids (for which a TIME_LIMIT may be set), ParaSites re-sets the priority order in which the ads are presented to the user according the #1 position to the highest bidder, the #2 position to the second highest bidder, and so on. Equal bid amounts are ordered as per various factors including according higher priority to bids received before other bids.
  • [0816]
    In embodiments, if and when a fee amount is accepted both by parties, for any of the above described or other cases, payment is effected by the payment facility 3503, 3504, with ParaSites 3502 receiving a portion of the monies/credits. (ParaSites only gets paid, when users get paid). Payments start at zero. Only when a user proves to the satisfaction of the ad-sending entity, does the user 3501 receive a non-zero payment amount.
  • [0817]
    FIG. 36 is a functional block diagram of an embodiment of an example of profile-based links 3601 Unlike links on Webpages, which take different users who click on the same link to the same destination, ParaSites links are profile-based, and thus may take different users 3603, 3604, 3605 to different destinations 3609, 3610, 3611 based upon each user's profile 3606, 3607, 3608.
  • [0818]
    There are billions of people on earth and not all of them like chocolate ice cream. Some prefer vanilla, or strawberry, or don't like ice cream at all. The point is we're all different. And yet conventional art hypertext links treat everyone on earth the same. If a thousand people click on a link, all thousand may be taken to the exact same destination. But that one destination may not be the best destination for all thousand people. It's time for profile-based links 3601.
  • [0819]
    There are profiles of people and things all over the Web, those profiles can enhance interactions and transactions, both online and offline. Whether such profiles are created by ParaSites (in embodiments as per FIG. 34) or by any other means, it would be desirable to have those profiles inform one of the most common navigation modalities on the Web—links
  • [0820]
    ParaSites feature profile-based links 3601. User profiles exist (as the per preceding paragraph), now they just need to be matched to tagged content. Such content can be online or offline Online content tagging is familiar to those skilled in the art. Offline content tagging can be accomplished by a plurality of methods including scanning a barcode/RFID for an object, which query returns the IP address where more information about that object can be found (such as a Website, ParaSite, Tilz, or other thing). ParaSites profile server 3402 matches user profiles to tagged content. In embodiments, tagged content can be based upon profiles of other users with whom one shares affinity characteristics. In embodiments users can set their link destination profile to be influenced by the links most popular with any number of groups: such as their friends, baseball lovers, food aficionados, Republicans, etc. Additionally users can set their link profile to “subscribe to” or “follow” the prospective link destinations of others. For instance, a user might not be a wine expert, but know someone who is. The user could “subscribe to” (for free or for a fee) or “follow” that wine expert's link metadata, to be taken to the same destinations as that expert for wine-related links
  • [0821]
    In embodiments ParaSites facilitates profile-based links for non-ParaSite Websites (i.e. conventional Websites) via a unique technology—reverse Web cookies. Conventional Web cookies are, in embodiments, a packet of data sent by an Internet server to a browser, which is returned (if not otherwise deleted) by the browser each time it subsequently accesses the same Internet server, and is used to identify the user or track their access to the Internet server. In embodiments, with reverse Web cookies (“My Cookiez”), instead of an Internet server pushing a packet to the user's browser, the user's browser pushes the user's packet to the Internet server. The user's packet contains (links to) the user's salient profile information. In embodiments, the user's packet contains the Internet protocol (IP) address (a pointer to) where the user's more complete profile information may be found. Vis a vis ParaSites' users, their profiles may be extant in a plurality of locations, including the profile server 3402. Thus informed, the Internet server for a Web page containing the link word “ice cream” may send chocolate ice cream lovers to one location, vanilla to another, and lactose intolerant people to suitable substitutes.
  • [0822]
    Vis a vis FIG. 36, the linked word “wine” 3602 is a profile-based link, that takes three different users Sam 3503, Karen 3604, and Pete 3605 to three different destinations. Sam's wine profile 3606 indicates a preference (which may be circumstance or time-based, such as when Sam is unemployed) for inexpensive wine 3612, thus Sam is directed to vendors of inexpensive wine or other sources with information relating to inexpensive wine, such as Trader Joe's 3609. Similarly, Karen's wine profile 3607 indicates a preference for French wines 3613 (based perhaps upon wines Karen recently ordered/consumed in restaurants, as per her Restaurant profile) and thus Karen is directed to a site such as Chateau Margaux 3610. Finally Pete's wine profile 3608 indicates a preference for premium wine 3614 (according to recent additions to his wine cellar, as per his Wine Cellar profile) and a current fondness for Napa wines, and is thus directed to a site such as Nickel & Nickel 3611.
  • [0823]
    In embodiments, direction to destination sites, in response to profiles (and profile-based links) may be auctioned by ParaSites for premium data placement 3512 (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user gets paid, as opposed to the search middleman). For example, there are many premium wineries in Napa, so those wineries that wish to have users directed to their site, may bid for priority.
  • [0824]
    FIG. 37 is a depiction of an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture illustrating a method by which users can create ParaSites 3703, and the interactive 3702 relationship between the hosted (conventional art) Website 3701 and the ParaSite 3703.
  • [0825]
    In embodiments ParaSites 3703 are created as per system 3000 from code that informs the parent Website 3701. The resultant ParaSite 3703 is then download to the user's device of choice, such as a user's PC 3704, where the ParaSite resides locally.
  • [0826]
    Additionally, ParaSites may be created without need for a “parent” Website 3701. In embodiments developers/users can utilize Website creation software 3705, which is enhanced by the ParaSites client-side facilities which includes a builder module configured to add the menu level capability 3706 of “Saving as ParaSite” rather than as HTML 3707.
  • [0827]
    FIG. 38 is a table illustrating the distinctions between the Web's (and therefore Websites') aging fundamental technologies, and their modern, designed for the mobile handset age, replacements including, in embodiments, the present Invention's constituent components, Tilz 3802, which supplant and/or update the aging hypertext markup language protocol 3801.
  • [0828]
    Created over a decade ago, the Web is informed by three fundamental elements which are becoming ever more inconsistent with the rapid changes in devices and network usage. The PC was the dominant computing device when the Web was born in 1990, whereas today the mobile handset is beginning to emerge as the next major computing platform. A majority of the networking protocols were designed for IP devices that were stationary. In short, very few of the technological assumptions that informed the creation of the Web, and thus Websites, are true today.
  • [0829]
    Therefore it is desirable for more advanced technologies to replace the Web's aging fundamental technologies, starting with HTML. Not credibly described as user-friendly, HTML was designed by an engineer for other engineers. But for the billions of non software engineers on the planet HTML is an undecipherable, foreign language. Tilz replace HTML, as Tilz can be created using any software program, and simply saved as a Tilz. Once in Tilz MDF (mobile digital-content) format, a user can grab just those Tilz desired, and, with no programming needed, an average user has just created and hosted shareable content, via the resultant ParaSite.
  • [0830]
    Similarly, it's time for the next version beyond URL and HTTP. IPv21 is an ID number for every object/person/thing on earth—an ID number, which is the IP address, for the Tilz, which is the profile, of that object/person/thing And with ComCloud (a data/profile broadcast for users/objects), instead of using an opaque hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to move bits about, users can simply do so by dragging and dropping (or otherwise moving) items into their ComCloud.
  • [0831]
    FIG. 39 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a ParaSite (Website), that not only is a Tilz as whole, but each element of the ParaSite (text, photos, ads, etc.) are each Tilz themselves—each Tilz with its own IP address. Tilz within Tilz. Such an architecture has many advantages including the ability to grab any element/item individually, and easily add that item to one's ComCloud profile broadcast.
  • [0832]
    In embodiments ParaSites are data “tiles” (or the homonym) “Tilz”-based custom Websites. Tilz are an unique digital-content format. In embodiments users can choose to download a Tilz of an entire conventional Website—thereby creating a ParaSite. Otherwise ParaSites may contain a user-customized subset of the conventional main/parent/hosted Website content/information. This ParaSite can be on a user's TV, computer, mobile device, gaming rig, or other device or thing. Users can set their (Web Pref) preference profile to receive/or otherwise be directed to the ParaSite (as opposed to the conventional Website) from (uTag or other) search engine searches. ParaSites function offline because ParaSites are stored locally. ParaSites are available and functional on devices such as a user's mobile device, even when an Internet connection to the conventional main/parent/hosted Website is not available.
  • [0833]
    No longer do uses have to surf to a Website, ParaSites are available to them all the time on their digital devices with content/information updated whenever an Internet connection is available (among other means).
  • [0834]
    These and other objects and features of the present Invention may become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the description and practice of the Invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • Surfing Profile Widget
  • [0835]
    The surfing profile widget is a computer cookie-based mini-application that some users of a particular Website may optionally choose to download, which can track their Website usage in great detail. This widget works across virtually any Website, accessed via a plurality of digital devices. Users may be incentivized to allow such data to be collected on their Website surfing habits with financial or privilege-based “carrots” (or other incentives).
  • [0836]
    Users of the Surfing Profile Widget can also select from several levels of disclosure, from total disclosure of their user-provided demographic profile, to a tracking widget which gathers no personal information for a given user, instead providing the Website owner detailed but completely anonymous user usage information.
  • [0837]
    The Surfing Profile widget produces data which may be of interest not only to Website owners, but also the ParaSite users, as the Surfing Profile Widge provides recommendations as to which Websites a user should consider pulling locally as a ParaSite.
  • Automated Collection Creation
  • [0838]
    The Websites that a given user visits most often can (if the user selects this option in their preference profile) be automatically up/downloaded to a user's mobile handset (or other digital devices the user designates) in the form of a ParaSite as per the storage space allocation preferences the user sets in the user's ParaSite preference profile. By such (or other) means, users can manually or automatically create collections of ParaSites.
  • Analytics
  • [0839]
    ParaSites software produces reports for Website owners with suggestions for how to alter their Website to better respond to the needs of its users. ParaSites software monitors how users interact with a given local Website (Parasite) and creates the Website Profile Report.
  • [0840]
    The Website Profile Report breaks down the local Website (Parasite) into its component pieces—not based upon the obvious menu headings, but instead separates the Website into functional pieces (Tilz) depending on how users interact with various portions of the Website. For instance, some sections of the Website contain static information that is rarely updated (such as Company History), other sections contain information that users often access (such as the Products/Services section), and other sections that users (almost) always access: such as the splash page and page displayed immediately post-login. The Website Profile Report offers suggestions as to where to re-locate information to make it more likely that Website/ParaSite users will find and use it.
  • [0841]
    The Website Profile Report breaks down the Website's user population into one or more “buckets” or groupings of users who share common Website usage traits. Those who casually graze for information, those who actively and almost aggressively interact with the Website, and several groups of users that fall in between these bookend groups.
  • [0842]
    The Website Profile Report also includes data such as how users arrived at the non-local, hosted Website: Direct Navigation (typing the actual Website URL into the browser) or Assisted Navigation (most commonly via search, whose search result link(s) the user clicked on to be taken to the Website in question).
  • Internet-Wide Analytics
  • [0843]
    ParaSites software provides Website owners with an unique advantage: the software can amass data and present actionable Website improvement patterns, across many local Websites (Parasites), not just the usage data collected from a single individual local Website (ParaSite). So, for example, a Website owner can learn not just from how their own users are utilizing their local Websites, but also receive reports and specific actionable recommendations for site improvement based up similar industry sites' data (if they opt-in to such data collection) or even all local Websites (ParaSites) as a whole.
  • [0844]
    Other reports include Missed Demand Data. Missed demand for airlines—utilized by airlines for flight scheduling planning. Because, in embodiments, ParaSites use Tilz, as users try to book a flight, Tilz can create standby lists (which inform as to missed demand), as well as users who express when their ideal flight time would be. That is to say airlines for the first time can see data such as “54 more people would have liked to travel on the 2:05 PM flight, but it was already booked.” Tilz can be shared as is, so users don't have to take any extra steps to send the missed demand information, and users get paid to send missed demand information)
  • Metrics
  • [0845]
    ParaSites provides dozens (and ever growing number) of different metrics for Website owners. These metrics are intended to aid Website owners in taking maximum advantage of the use of ParaSite local copies of Websites.
  • Velocity Metrics
  • [0846]
    Velocity Metrics are a way for Website owners to measure and monitor in real-time how effective particular changes to a Website are; and in specific, changes to the local copies (ParaSites) of Websites. Velocity Metrics measure not just, for example, how many more clicks a particular Website section or ad is getting, but also the Rate of Change (the direction of the change in addition to the magnitude of the change). For example, a change the Website owner just made produced a doubling of traffic on the Products page, but nearly 100% of the increased usage came from mobile handset users' ParaSites. Thus, rather than “beefing up” the Products data pages, perhaps a company ought to slim-down the information to better serve the smaller screen size and slower connection speed of the average mobile handset. Similarly, the increased traffic may have come from a particular affinity group (elderly, business users, sports enthusiasts, etc.) at the expense of a different affinity group—so the Website owner may want to rewrite their section copy accordingly.
  • Fulcrum Metrics
  • [0847]
    Metrics which track which local Website (ParaSite) item changes have the greatest effect on a number of user-selectable attributes, such as the ratio of users who head to another Website before completing a transaction vs those who complete their transaction on the local Website (ParaSite) in question.
  • Offline Functionality
  • [0848]
    In embodiments ParaSites continue to function and be useful in offline mode, when not connected to the Internet. Furthermore ParaSites do not necessarily require the Internet to receive updates: updates can be received directly from the Website owner's mobile handset, or from the mobile handsets of other users who have received the updated information on their mobile handset already. That is to say, users can peer-to-peer sync their ParaSite (local copy of the Website data) with another user's ParaSite, from most any other wired or wireless digital device, without having to surf to the ISP (or otherwise)-hosted “source” content.
  • Non-Website Digital Content
  • [0849]
    ParaSites technology is extensible to any type of digital content. In embodiments ParaSites Website technology is not limited to Websites, but may be used, for example, for users to have a local copy of a video game character live/reside on their mobile handset and have some, limited, capabilities even without running a copy of the video game. The digital content is placed in a mobile digital-content format tile (Tilz) that provides said functionality for the content within.
  • Local and Web-Based Applications
  • [0850]
    In addition to information serving, ParaSites other primary function is to deliver executable functionality, via local software. Website owners can select portions of existing code functionality and re-write it as a widget that resides on a user's (local) digital device, such as a mobile handset. For example, instead of pointing one's browser to the URL for that user's bank, to transfer funds from checking to savings, that same user could launch the ParaSite for their bank and accomplish that same task via the ParaSite widget for that Website residing, for example, on the user's mobile handset. Such local (ParaSite) software may be more responsive, than streaming the same functionality. Since ParaSites may also function via a live connection to the primary Website's servers, executing a task such as transferring funds from checking to savings can be accomplished in like manner. In accordance with the shift from the PC to the new computing platform, the mobile device, such a simplification of the user experience may drive adoption of smaller, more tightly focused executables, such as ParaSites/widgets, in preference to dealing with bloated aging Website technology (which was designed over a decade ago primarily for the PC user).
  • [0851]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present Invention, more particular descriptions of the Invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are, in some cases, illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings and descriptions depict only typical embodiments of the Invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The Invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail via the following applications and use cases.
  • Typical Usage Example
  • [0852]
    Out of the millions of Websites on the Web, Joe Smith utilizes just a couple dozen of them frequently, and somewhat less frequently visits several hundred others. And from time to time Joe visits a brand new Website. In this example, Joe visits CNN.com once or twice a day largely to monitor political headlines. In embodiments Joe clicks on the ParaSites icon (or menu selection) on the hosted Website, or clicks on the ParaSites widget on his mobile handset, to pull a local copy of the CNN.com Website to his mobile handset. Instead of pulling the massive total content of the Website (perhaps hundreds of gigabytes or more), Joe first clicks on the portions of the Website he wants to have locally available—in this example, he just clicks on the Politics headline. Joe can also select options such as whether or not he wants any Political video clips to be pulled locally or stream them as-needed, on-demand, from the CNN.com hosted Website.
  • [0853]
    In similar fashion, Joe visits his favorite social networking site, such as Myspace. Once there his ParaSite software monitors which other profiles Joe visits most often and pulls their content onto Joe's local Myspace copy. Again, Joe can add restrictions as to type and quantity of content to pull to his ParaSite. For example, no videos, just a snapshot of the first frame of videos, which Joe can always click on and view on-demand; and only 25 of the most recently posted photographs, with no individual photographs allowed over 200 Kb.
  • [0854]
    Joe repeats this process for his most frequently visited Websites until he has a “playlist” (ordered collection) of ParaSites, on his mobile handset. ParaSites are touchscreen compatible and Joe can use flicking motions to scroll through lists or rows of mini-thumbnail images for each ParaSite. Joe can group collections of related Websites into “playlists” similar to the way he creates playlists of MP3 songs.
  • [0855]
    Joe then sets his ParaSites profile to manage storage space limitations for each ParaSite in specific, and his entire playlist (collection) of ParaSites in general. Joe also uses his ParaSites profile to manage when and how information updates take place. All profile selections can be applied globally to all of a user's ParaSites, or be fine-tuned for individual ParaSites.
  • [0856]
    Now let's say Joe has entered an area where his mobile handset does not have access to the Internet. He can still view and use the local data on each ParaSite. And any item he clicks on (with the mouse or tap of his finger on the touchscreen display) that needs Internet connectivity to pull the content is stored in a Cached Instructions folder, and may be carried out next time Joe has Internet connectivity.
  • [0857]
    Over time as Joe interacts with his ParaSites, he can optionally choose (or not) to let ParaSites software track usage patterns and automatically reconfigure the mix of content that is stored locally on Joe's mobile handset. This new mix might include deleting some ParaSites, and replacing them with other ParaSites, as well as changing the mix of content within a given ParaSite.
  • Mini-Blog
  • [0858]
    Some users create huge blogs. Not all of their friends will want access to the full content, so those friends can create a ParaSite of just that portion of the blog they want to view—especially if they are viewing with a storage or screen-size limited device such as a mobile handset. The fact that the ParaSites can display blog content in tiles (Tilz) format, also enables easier mobile handset viewing of the content.
  • ParaSites on TVs
  • [0859]
    In embodiments ParaSites are displayed on televisions via set top boxes, digital video recorders (DVRs), or other devices which support third-party and/or Internet content uploading. ParaSites may also be displayed on compatible TVs directly via plugging in a storage device such as a (compatible) thumb drive which contains the user's ParaSites (if the user's TV or set top box has such a facility) or via an Internet, WiFi, Bluetooth (or other communication/networking protocol)-enabled set top box (or other means).
  • ParaSites in Cars and on Airplanes
  • [0860]
    ParaSites can live on storage devices such as thumb drives or digital memory card. In embodiments, users simply plug the thumb drive into (a PC or) an automobile (that supports and displays third party digital content) or an airplane personal entertainment unit for display and utilization on the seat-back screen and the user's ParaSites collection comes to life—even without an Internet connection. Alternatively, users may broadcast (CloudCast) their ComCloud from their digital device, such as their mobile handset, to stream their ParaSites' content.
  • Parasite as Widget
  • [0861]
    In embodiments, ParaSites act as widgets (Webified mini software applications) to perform various functions. For example, takeout pizza ordering. Some pizza companies are now accepting online orders and/or text-message orders. This process is much easier if users select the ParaSite for their favorite pizza place, and click on the ParaSite's menu section and order (and pay for) the desired pizza with a few more clicks/taps/et. al. Users download the ParaSite of their favorite pizza places onto their mobile device, where it is most convenient for them to place an order to be delivered or picked up. Pizza Places might pay users to be the exclusive pizza ParaSite (widget) on a user's mobile device (TV or other device or thing).
  • On-Demand Hosting
  • [0862]
    Users can create and host a ParaSite on, say, their mobile device; but if that ParaSite becomes very popular, or experiences a temporary burst in traffic, it can be automatically (or temporarily) hosted at another/third party site. A new type of on-demand Website hosting occurs for those cases where the user has created a “local-only” ParaSite, without having ever created a conventional or an ISP-hosted version of that Website. When the popularity of that “local-only” ParaSite becomes too much for the individual to host, the ParaSite software can, at the user's option, upload the ParaSite to a designated ISP (or other entity) for temporary high-volume hosting.
  • Peer-to-Peer Parasite Sharing
  • [0863]
    Additionally, peer-to-peer ParaSite sharing addresses high demand traffic issues—by enabling users to trade ParaSites (Tilz) with each other directly, rather than all content being sent from the main hosted Website. In a virtuous cascade effect, the more popular a ParaSite is, the more users have obtained a local copy. Thus, there are more users making copies of the ParaSite available from their digital devices directly via peer-to-peer sharing with their friends and associates. The more popular a ParaSite is, the more abundant it will become—automatically—and without necessarily overtaxing the conventional (potentially ISP-hosted) main Website. Without local copies of Websites, the more popular a conventional art Website is, the more likely it is to be overtaxed, or crash, or slow down due to the fact that most users are utilizing the (single) main Website
  • Third-Party Edited Versions of Websites
  • [0864]
    Website owners can optionally allow third parties to create a customized “directors cut” ParaSite. Similar to the process whereby movie producers release a digital version of a film and let third parties create their own versions or “cuts” of a film (ala the “director's cut”), Website owners can allow third parties to create an edited version of their Website. Some Websites contain thousands of pieces of information. This might constitute information overload for some visitors to that Website. Those users might want an edited version of that Website. Since ParaSites enable individuals to create an edited version of a Website (a Website “clip”), containing just those sections the user desires, ParaSites also allows one user to sync with a ParaSites version of a Website created by another user.
  • [0865]
    For example, let's say there is a comprehensive Website about wine, but it contains too much information to be kept locally, and most of the information is not relevant to the user Joe Smith. If Joe has a buddy, Pete, who has similar tastes in wine, and Pete has taken the time to produce a ParaSite of the comprehensive Website, then Joe can sync his ParaSite with Pete's ParaSite. That is to say, Joe can benefit from the time Pete spent creating a usefully and/or artfully edited version of the comprehensive wine site.
  • Ad Hoc File Sharing
  • [0866]
    The concept (and various embodiments) of ParaSites includes not only Websites, but also individual documents or files. Take for example a dozen users who all work in the same department at some company and need access to certain common documents. To this end the department manager creates a Common Docs ParaSite which is “hosted” on the manager's mobile handset. Any one of the department workers may create a ParaSite document and simply add it their copy of the Common Docs ParaSite which resides on each of their mobile handsets.
  • [0867]
    Each time there is an update to any existing document or any new document is added, all the department workers' Common Docs ParaSites will sync next time they are connected to the Internet or directly peer-to-peer with each other's mobile handsets, say via Bluetooth. And since future updates to an existing document only send the document changes (as opposed to the entire document), many interactions are no more bandwidth intensive or intrusive than any two people exchanging a text message. Thus users can utilize ParaSites to provide a means of ad hoc file sharing.
  • Non-Website Digital Content
  • [0868]
    ParaSites technology is extensible to any type of digital content. For example, users could have a local copy of a cartoon character live and/or reside on their mobile device or TV, and have some limited capabilities even without running or having a copy of the videogame on that device).
  • Video Game Compatibility
  • [0869]
    In embodiments ParaSites are configured to function on videogaming rigs and consoles. The Invention Website also includes downloadable software code that videogame developers can incorporate into their videogames to enable them to display and have their characters use ParaSites (or Parasites technology) inside their actual video games.
  • Non-Console Video Gaming
  • [0870]
    In embodiments ParaSites enable some aspects of single- and multi-player games to be played on some Internet-enabled digital devices, such as certain mobile handsets, or PC or TV. In embodiments popular videogame characters can be pulled as a local copy to a user's digital device of choice. And though removed from the standard videogame environment and videogame console, some video game characters are, per ParaSites, able to “live” outside the confines of the video game, and begin to take their place in their user's everyday life, living locally on a variety of devices (such as mobile handsets, TV's, refrigerators, et. al.).
  • Collecting and Trading ParaSites
  • [0871]
    Similar to the collecting and trading of baseball cards, ParaSites (and in particular, the especially useful or artful custom versions certain individuals have or have created) can be collected and traded by users. Once a user has amassed a collection of ParaSites, they can share their collection with other users in several ways:
  • [0872]
    ParaSites collections may be shared and traded via the ParaSites widget and/or Website. Users can also create and trade their own custom “skins” for their ParaSites cover tiles.
  • [0873]
    ParaSites, and collections of ParaSites, may also be sent directly, say mobile handset to mobile handset via any number of wireless or wired protocols. For example a mobile handset user could use Bluetooth to send a ParaSite for a cool new travel Website to a friend. The ParaSite received by the recipient will at first be in the format selected by the sender. However, when the recipient next connects to the Internet (or otherwise accesses the main hosted version of that Website) the ParaSite may morph to display the ParaSite's information according to the recipient's (Web Pref) preferences profile.
  • Parasite Pro
  • [0874]
    ParaSite Pro is for corporations, government agencies, and other organizations and clubs, giving them greater control, such as remote management and wipe. Corporations can give their customers a customized Website (ParaSite) with information that can include in-process manufacturing data, account data, financial information and a history of all past communications. A (conventional art) extranet does not live on a company's customer's mobile device. ParaSites do.
  • Misc.
  • [0875]
    ParaSites are personalized (as per each user's profile); One-to-one marketing (customized experience, ads, and transactions for each ParaSites user); Evangelists (sharing a ParaSite version of a Website with their friends and/or fans, has the effect of evangelizing a Website's content/message); Traffic reduction (in embodiments, ParaSite (Tilz) are shared among users, utilizing users' bandwidth or alternate means such as Bluetooth (thus reducing network traffic)).
  • Cloud/Distributed Computing
  • [0876]
    ParaSite technology can determine the most expeditious means of delivering a ParaSite. For example, download the ParaSite from the main site or have the ParaSite sent from another user. Thus, in effect, ParaSites are “hosted” at many different sites—that is to say, on individual users' digital devices—far more efficient than conventional art content delivery networks.
  • [0877]
    The present Invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the Invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims in addition to all foregoing descriptions. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims and foregoing descriptions are to be embraced within their scope.
  • The Wireless Location-Establishing Device Provides a Platform for Mobile Digital Content Format
  • [0878]
    A system, method, service and platform for providing a next generation mobile digital-content format are disclosed. The present Invention (hereafter “Tilz”) is informed by the shift to a new computing platform—the mobile digital device. Current document formats are largely incompatible with the smaller screen size of mobile digital devices, and lack functionality across the entire spectrum of digital content formats. Tilz is an unique universal, transactable, digital-content format, that makes viewing and using applications and digital content on mobile devices much easier. Furthermore, everything including documents, folders, Websites, songs, photos, videos, movies, tickets, credit cards, passports, keys, et. al. can be created/saved/displayed/utilized in Tilz MDF Mobile Digital-content Format.
  • [0879]
    Most conventional art document formats, which were primarily created during the era of the now aging personal computer (PC), are largely incompatible with the smaller screen size of mobile digital devices, and lack functionality across the entire spectrum of digital content formats. A leading document format, such as Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) is generally not utilized for music or videos or certain other types of digital content. Neither can most people build a Website from most current leading document formats.
  • [0880]
    The present Invention (hereafter “tiles” or the homonym “Tilz”) is conceived as a response to the above-described deficiencies of the conventional art, and is informed by the shift to a new computing platform—the mobile digital device. Tilz is an unique universal, transactable digital-content format, that makes viewing and using applications and digital content on mobile devices much easier. Furthermore, everything including documents, folders, Websites, newspapers, magazines, songs, photos, videos, movies, tickets, credit cards, passports, keys, et. al. can be created/saved/displayed in Tilz MDF Mobile Digital-content Format.
  • [0881]
    Everything (digital) becomes one thing—a Tilz.
  • [0882]
    The present Invention enables novel forms of interacting and transacting based upon profiles—profiles which are captured in tiles, or the homonym thereto, “Tilz.”
  • [0883]
    Tilz can be likened to a digital “baseball card” for every single object on earth—containing the profile of that object. And objects that have profiles can be interacted with and transacted with far more efficiently than today. And such profile-based interactions and transactions, lead to revolutionary new methods for search, marketing, advertising, merchandising, payments, social networking, et. al.
  • [0884]
    However, Tilz are not limited to objects. Any person, animal, animate or inanimate thing, idea, intention, philosophy, et. al.—literally anything and everything—may have a Tilz profile.
  • [0885]
    The metaphor of a digital baseball card is instructive as it relates to two of the primary drivers for the need for a new digital-content format: history and dimensionality. Each prior shift to a new computing platform (mainframe to mini, mini to PC, and now PC to mobile handset) has engendered a new crop of hardware and software optimized for the new platform. And it's those new technologies designed from the ground up for the new computing platform that historically are the long term winners vis a vis that new computing platform—and not the warmed over technology from the prior platform. It's time therefore for a new digital content format for the new mobile device platform. And regarding dimensionality, if one holds up a traditional 8.5″×11″ document to a mobile handset, the dimensional mismatch of trying to view 90 square inches of document on 10 square inches of mobile handset screen, becomes apparent. A new digital-content format built from the ground up for the new computing platform screen size (but amenable and adaptable to any screen size) is therefore desirable.
  • [0886]
    Over a billion cellphones are sold each year. Over 100 million new users connect to the Internet for the first time every year. The majority of them are connecting with a mobile handset. Yet the current format of documents and other things is still geared toward personal computers—especially those connected to ever larger display screens.
  • [0887]
    The personal computer (PC) is outmoded and out of sync with the majority of new Internet users. A mobile handset is smaller, requires less maintenance, has an instant on operating system and is fast becoming the next generation computing platform (now that the PC is over 20 years old). As per a major paradigm shift, everything should be clean-sheeted (rethink; start over with a clean sheet of paper) including how content, applications, Websites, documents, and other things are formatted. As content becomes digital and utilized on a wide variety of devices, the old convention, say, of a document as an 8.5″×11″ sheet of paper is no longer a desirable model to emulate. A new mobile document format needs to be developed that rids itself of the boring shackles of emulating the analog world, and fully embraces the cool and limitless digital world.
  • [0888]
    In many second and third world countries, it's unlikely that the investment required for large scale hard-wired Internet infrastructure will be made anytime soon. Thus wireless access, particularly mobile handset access, is likely to continue to be the dominant modality. It would be preferable to have a new format for documents that is designed from the ground-up to work with mobile handsets.
  • [0889]
    Tilz are the paradigm-shifting solution to the problem of how to view and utilize digital content on the mobile handset. Instead of adapting the current size of documents and Websites to mobile handset screens, Tilz are a new universal format that fits the screen size of mobile handsets. Everything including documents, folders, Websites, newspapers, magazines, etc. can be displayed in the Tilz mobile digital-content format.
  • [0890]
    Tilz are not limited to mobile handset-sized screens as they re-size to any size display screen—such as large screen TVs. As televisions morph to become a hub of users' lives, they may need a way, for instance, to display documents and Websites et. al. in the margins of the large screen display area—and Tilz fit that size requirement perfectly. In embodiments Tilz first appear, no matter on what device or display, in Tilz view and size (mobile handset sized, similar to the size of a baseball card), but users can change their preferences in their Tilz profile to display a different size as default. Users can click on the re-sizing icon to cause Tilz to display in classic document size fitting the screen size of the device display.
  • [0891]
    Another way to think of Tilz is as follows. Instead of a Website containing hundreds (or thousands) of things, think of Tilz as: a portable Webpage containing just one file; a portable Webpage containing just one song; a portable Webpage containing just one movie; a portable Webpage containing just one document;
  • [0892]
    In embodiments Tilz is a profile for each and every thing, including each file, song, movie, document, et. al.
  • [0893]
    Tilz are metadata driven, as each Tilz is a profile of something. Furthermore, Tilz are “live”—i.e. they connect to the Internet (among other means) whenever possible to grab the latest updates to, or refresh the content of, the information contained in the Tilz.
  • [0894]
    In an age where people are so busy they have too little time, and are simultaneously experiencing an overload of information, the last thing people want, is more than what they want. Tilz comports with these trends by delivering a summary of information about every thing in a convenient “digital baseball card”-like profile. Though, if additional information is desired, it can be obtained via unique profile-based links to more information/Tilz.
  • [0895]
    The forthcoming mobile device revolution is such a tectonic structural shift for the computing world, that it demands that everything related to computing and networking be entirely re-imagined. Tilz has re-imagined the concept of a document. As well as how literally any digital content may be stored and displayed. Tilz are informed by the smaller screen size of the mobile handset, but also flourish in a multi-device environment. Tilz revolutionize marketing, merchandising, customer interaction, and social interaction.
  • [0896]
    With Tilz transactions are transactable. Tilz templates may be cool and beautiful, and a source of revenue as well as interaction. Tilz enable the next generation of notifications and messaging. Notifications, messages, and status updates can appear in Tilz templates. If a user received a Tilz from Fred, then any updates or messages from Fred can be displayed in novel fashion via the Tilz template. Tilz also generate new sources of revenue for application makers which choose to employ/enable Tilz. Tilz offer credit card companies entirely new business models based on transactions instead of users. Users' social profiles in Tilz means that users may get paid for monetization of their profiles. Users are incentivized to create Tilz for every object on earth, because Tilz creators may share in the revenue generated by that Tilz.
  • [0897]
    Tilz create a brand new profitable and exciting format for magazines and newspapers (not to mention books, movies, TV shows, pictures, etc.). And Tilz extend the reach of magazines and newspapers into the real world. Tilz are location-aware, touch-capable, interaction and transaction ready, and thus suitable for mobile devices—as compared to conventional aging/outmoded formats such as .doc and PDFs. The simple act, for instance, of a user adding movies to the user's Movies Not Yet Seen list may put money in the user's pocket and provides movie vendors of all sorts, new avenues to attract and interact with potential customers.
  • [0898]
    Tilz replace email. Tilz replace Websites. Tilz are the beginning of the end for conventional overly complex relational database systems. Tilz are geo-tagged and location aware. Tilz enable a new type of paid search that also works in the real world, not just online (and the users get paid). Tilz may take the place of everything in a user's wallet from cash and checks to credit cards and library cards and shopping/loyalty-programs cards and workplace badges et. al. Tilz are the embodiment of the forthcoming mobile device revolution.
  • [0899]
    The present Invention is described in one or more embodiments in the following description with references to the Figures. While the Invention is described in terms of the primary modes for achieving the Invention's objectives, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the Invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents as supported by the disclosures and drawings herein.
  • [0900]
    A primary purpose of the system, method, service and platform for providing a next generation mobile digital-content format described herein is to address the fact that most current digital content formats are still geared towards personal computers, at a time when the mobile handset is emerging as the new computing platform. The disclosed system, method, service and platform also enable new forms of interacting and transacting based upon profiles—profiles which are captured in tiles, or the homonym thereto, “Tilz.”
  • [0901]
    Although various embodiments of the Invention extend to any mobile digital-content format that is consistent with the principles described herein, one embodiment is described in the context of a Website, server software and widget (Webified mini software application) that is collectively referred to herein as the “Tilz Platform.”
  • [0902]
    According to this embodiment of the Invention, the Website, server software and widget enable users to utilize a new universal, transactable, digital-content format that makes creating, using and viewing applications and digital content on mobile handsets (and other devices) much easier. In addition, Tilz are designed to be functional on a plurality of digital devices, such as TVs, DVRs, set top boxes, PCs, cameras, gaming rigs, etc.
  • [0903]
    Tilz is a novel format for documents, files, data, and all other digital content (Websites, music, videos, photos, et. al.), optimized for the mobile handset screen size/topology.
  • [0904]
    As used in connection with the digital formats of these embodiments of the present Invention, the following terminology is defined as:
  • [0000]
    Clipz, deckz, and rackz refer to groups of related tiles/Tilz.
    Tribe Tilz also refer to a group of related Tilz, usually those Tilz which share common tags, but also can refer to the user's group (of friends) lists (their tribes).
    Mosaic is an artful grouping of a user's (favorite) Tilz.
    Spherez is a means of navigating a plurality of Tilz—see detailed NAVIGATION section below.
  • Tilz Creation
  • [0905]
    There are a plurality of means to create Tilz that include: the user takes a picture or scans the (Internet protocol based IP) barcode (such as Net Dotz) for that item. Tilz may also be created by clicking an MDF (Mobile Digital-content Format) icon on the bottom of a content page. And, in embodiments Tilz may be created from any program that chooses to embed Tilz technology in it (or be otherwise compatible with the Tilz widget). Users could choose to save, for example, a Word document as .MDF.
  • Tilz Website
  • [0906]
    The Tilz Website includes various features such as profiles, comment sharing, blogging, tagging, chat, message boards, etc. The Tilz Website is a place where users come to discuss, share and discover a plurality of types of digital media: music, books, photos, videos, etc. all of which are captured in Tilz.
  • [0907]
    The Tilz Website includes a digital content store. Users may also use the Tilz Website to store the IP addresses of all the digital content a user owns, such as songs/movies, along with all playlists. Users can then simply download all their owned content to any new device at any time. This is in contrast to current users who may spend hours just trying to transfer MP3 (or other format) songs from their old computers to their new computers.
  • Appraisals
  • [0908]
    Appraisals for the condition of Tilz items works in a fashion similar to rock climbing ratings. Knowledgeable people set a rating, but others can reset ratings. Appraisers themselves are also rated, and carry with them a rating score. The more times an appraiser has their rating re-set, the lower their score.
  • Global Platform
  • [0909]
    In embodiments, Tilz constitutes a platform for third party applications to run on. Unlike a social networking site platform such as Myspace, which is a single Website platform for third party applications, Tilz is a global platform for any Website, any device (mobile device, PC, TV, MP3 player, refrigerator, etc.), and for any and all types of digital content (videos, photos, music, movies, e-books, documents, files, folders, etc.). In embodiments Tilz auto-resize depending upon the device displaying them, as per the user's preference profile.
  • Relational Database
  • [0910]
    In embodiments Tilz are a form of relational database—via the use of tags. For example:
  • [0911]
    A user takes a photo or video of a Boy Scout camping trip. In the tags section of the photo/video they could add tags such as: vacations, Boy Scouts, 2001 Yearbook, camping, tents, etc.
  • [0912]
    A user also takes pictures of their Boy Scout trip to London and adds tags such as: vacations, London, Europe, Boy Scouts, etc.
  • [0913]
    When the user searches for the tag keyword “vacations” it will bring up all such tagged Tilz. When the user searches for the tag keyword “Boy Scouts” it will also bring up those Tilz—without the user having to file individual copies of that same Tilz in multiple folders with the tag keyword names. This enables users who are searching their Tilz to bring up all related Tilz with a few keywords.
  • [0914]
    Users don't have to know how databases work or deal with the complexities many of them introduce. Furthermore since Tilz may contain all types of digital content it is simple for a user to create a “database” that contains text, dates, videos, pictures, Website links, etc.—because they are simply individual Tilz with those types of content to which the user added keyword tags.
  • [0915]
    And Tilz metadata tagged relational database capabilities inform both structured and unstructured data analytics.
  • Search
  • [0916]
    Search is built into all Tilz and the built-in search capability enables users to search any and all Tilz (as per user-selectable privacy/security settings) connected to the Internet (or via other means, including but not limited to peer-to-peer connections), not just on the user's digital device (such as mobile handset or PC).
  • Notifications
  • [0917]
    Tilz reveal if content has changed via a plurality of types of notifications, including pulsing frames, actual image of the new content, audio notifications, etc. If the user grabs the real estate listing Tilz for a house, the user could set that Tilz to notify the use each time there is an Open House for that property. See also REFLECTION below.
  • Built-in Browser
  • [0918]
    Tilz obviates the need for stand-alone browsers, with a mini web browser built into embodiments of Tilz—that is to say an active browser opens when a user has one or more Tilz open on any digital device. This browser is hidden, but automatically connects those Tilz to the Web whenever those Tilz are in use (unless the user sets the Tilz option to Do Not Autoconnect).
  • [0919]
    In order to save memory, once one open Tilz has its browser active, all other active Tilz on that same digital device may use that same browser code—that is to say, although each Tilz has its own copy of the mini browser code built-in, it may not be called into CPU memory when that Tilz opens if another Tilz has its mini browser active. When each Tilz is opened a browser window is launched within that Tilz (which stays hidden until launched via means such a clicking an icon) and that Tilz is “live” if a connection to the Internet exists (subject to the user's preferences profile).
  • [0920]
    Users may opt to instead use third party browsing technology instead.
  • Built-in Operating System
  • [0921]
    Tilz reduce the need for underlying operating systems such as Windows, by having a micro operating system built into embodiments of Tilz.
  • [0922]
    The built-in Tilz operating system allows Tilz to communicate with each other irrespective of the underlying operating system of the digital device on which they reside (similar to the open source zero configuration technology). Since the Invention treats documents, files, et. al. the same way some other companies treat electronic devices, the Invention communication technology provides automatic Internet Protocol (IP) network configuration and dynamic discoverability of other Tilz (as well as hardware devices). Each Tilz' IP settings are automatically configured.
  • [0923]
    Each Tilz is then discoverable (subject to user-selectable privacy/security settings) by any other Tilz that are network/Internet/peer-to-peer connected. Tilz may operate via the network subnet for ad hoc local and wide area networking or via “pinged” peer-to-peer connections (or via other means). This technology also allows Tilz to discover other devices such as printers, enabling, for example, wireless printing from mobile handsets.
  • [0924]
    The Tilz operating system also manages basic event handling.
  • MDF
  • [0925]
    When any digital content is saved as a Tilz it is optionally appended with the following file extension: .mdf or .MDF or other/no file extension. In embodiments Tilz=MDF=mobile digital-content format. For example a Tilz document may be saved as: client_letter.mdf (instead of, say, client_letter.doc). If possible Tilz may seek establishment of the Tilz domain suffix .mdf (ala .com or .net) since each Tilz is assigned its own IP address.
  • How Tilz Work
  • [0926]
    In embodiments the Tilz widget enables compatible applications that support printing to generate MDF—the mobile digital-content format for Tilz (i.e. provide the user the option to Save As MDF rather than physically print that document (or other thing)).
  • [0927]
    In embodiments the Tilz widget also adds the capability to create most any document in Tilz format. For example, when using a word processing program, when the user is creating a new document, the user may be presented with the option to create said document in Tilz format. This is in contrast to Adobe's PDF, which can be likened to a shell a user creates after they are finished composing a document. Saving in PDF is selected, for example, as an alternative to printing the document. Tilz (MDF) may also be selected at the time of document creation.
  • [0928]
    A selection of Tilz templates are available from drop down menus that may be added to compatible software programs the user is utilizing to create a digital document/content. These drop down menus are added by the Tilz widget. For instance, a user has created a document using a word processing program. The user could choose to save that file not only in standard .doc format, but also in .mdf format.
  • [0929]
    Furthermore, the Tilz widget allows a user to select an option to automatically create a Tilz version of every document that that user creates with that program. As the document is saved in .mdf format the user may add metadata such as Document Summary, tags/keywords, and cover art and document customization elements.
  • Icons
  • [0930]
    User-selectable continuously (in)visible and menu-resident icons can populate various positions along the edges and corners (and other locations) of Tilz. For example:
  • [0931]
    an icon to take the user to the native document from the Tilz version;
  • [0932]
    an icon to take the user to more documents by the same author;
  • [0933]
    an icon to take the user to related (tag/keyword matched) documents/digital-content;
  • [0934]
    an icon to print the document/digital-content.
  • IP Address and Barcode
  • [0935]
    Every Tilz has its own unique ID number—its IP address. Each time a Tilz is created by a user, an IP address is assigned (in embodiments, from that user's bank of IP addresses, such as from IPv21). Alternatively, an IP address is assigned automatically to each Tilz next time that Tilz is connected to the Internet. Additionally an IP-based barcode (such as Net Dotz) is assigned to each Tilz. Other users may scan this barcode to be taken to the IP address where the content of that Tilz resides. The IP barcode also simplifies the process for that content to be utilized or selected by a reader.
  • [0936]
    Tilz confer an unique IP address for every object, person, thing, et. al. captured/profiled as a Tilz. The IP address is the location where more information about that object can be found. Consider the Tilz for a clock radio: the clock radio has a serial number, which is its ID number, which is its IP address for its Tilz, which is the profile for that object.
  • [0937]
    For example, if Sony sold 1 million units of the model 1000 clock radio, then each of the 1 million Tilz (one for each individual clock radio unit) are unique. Furthermore, the profile of an object, such as a clock radio, contains other unique information, such as information related to the ownership of that clock radio by the person who purchased it: Sony clock radio, serial number #123456789, was purchased on Apr. 10, 2001, by Joe Smith, at the Best Buy, at 1111 Industrial Blvd. in Redwood City, Calif., for $35.31, paid for with credit card xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-1234. The extended warranty was purchased for an additional $9, etc. etc. So too would any warranty or repair information be included on the Tilz. In fact, any information regarding the person's ownership of that object can also be captured in the Tilz.
  • [0938]
    Tilz is also the ongoing relationship, for instance, between the product maker/retailer and the owner of the product. If the owner of the product wants to get hold of the product maker/retailer, the owner does so through and via the Tilz—which has unique built in communication facilities.
  • Live Data
  • [0939]
    Tilz based digital content is updatable. Tilz based content can be automatically refreshed as new information becomes available, via a plurality of means including Internet and/or peer-to-peer modalities. When (master) content is refreshed by the content creator, all Tilz containing that (slave) content can (at the publisher's/subscriber's option) also have their content automatically updated.
  • [0940]
    As a transactable object, Tilz may produce revenue for users, and content providers, and third parties, and even original application providers. In embodiments, content is refreshed by the content creator who has the master Tilz. Tilz slaved or subscribed to that content may have their Tilz automatically updated, for free or for a fee. Tilz tag data can, at a user's option, be automatically enhanced—if other users add metadata and tags to their Tilz, any other user's Tilz may be informed by that same data. Furthermore, Tilz enable a new type of digital video recorder (DVR)—the DCP (digital content provider). A DCP pulls Tilz/content that meet the user's interest profiles and other profiles. Tilz are tagged so DCP's can continuously seek out and acquire desired content, even via peer-to-peer means such as Bluetooth. So if a user has an interest in butterflies and another person walks by who has cool butterfly-related Tilz, that user's DCP can acquire for free or for a free those butterfly Tilz (as per both party's preference profiles, and digital content rights).
  • [0941]
    Tilz, and a Tilz information navigation modality, Spherez, also automatically attract like content.
  • [0942]
    The Invention employs and incorporates many unique technologies, such as the ability to execute novel interactions and transactions, even offline, as per the detailed descriptions below.
  • [0943]
    Having generally described operation of the systems and methods creating and utilizing a mobile digital-content format, various embodiments will be described with respect to FIGS. 40-49.
  • [0944]
    FIG. 40 shows an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of an universal digital-content format system, method, service, and platform in accordance with the Invention which is designated generally as system 4000.
  • [0945]
    System 4000, hereafter the “Tilz Platform,” consists in embodiments of server software 4021 and client software 4007 which includes a widget (Webified mini software application) configured for operation with a variety of digital computing devices including mobile handsets 4031. The widget enables users to engage and manage a number of facilities pursuant to transforming a plurality of digital content types 4005 into a single type 4006, a Tilz, and interacting and transacting thereupon the resultant Tilz.
  • [0946]
    FIG. 40 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of a depiction of the transformation process 4010, wherein content in any language format 4001 is translated into the Invention's unique universal mobile digital-content format “MDF” 4002—everything 4003 is transmuted into one thing, a Tilz 4004.
  • [0947]
    FIG. 40 is further a block diagram illustrating a depiction of system 4000, hereafter the “Tilz Platform,” which represents an embodiment of the system, method, service, and platform by which a user creates profiles of things, which in turn inform the ads, offers, information and other data the user receives regarding same. In embodiments the Tilz Platform consists of client 4007 and server software 4021, but which more generally consists of a plurality of computer applications, devices, components, facilities, and systems, as well as a plurality of data facilities, including various data sources and data acquisition facilities. The foregoing may be centrally located or geographically dispersed, may be locally and/or remotely interconnected, and may consist of distinct components or be integrated into combined systems. In the illustrated embodiment, the Tilz Platform 4000 architecture facilitates the processing of user-initiated queries entered into a query entry system functioning in conjunction, for example, with a barcode reading facility on the user's mobile device 4031. The mobile device may process the results of this query locally via client software 4007, or transmit the results of this query to a remote server software system 4021 for further processing and/or routing to data sources and/or processing facilities, such as one or more servers, such as HTTP servers or other servers that are suitable for handling data that are transmitted over computer networks.
  • [0948]
    In embodiments, a plurality of profile acquisition facilities are available including barcode scanning facility 4031, RFID interrogator facility 4031, network or Internet-based facilities 4031, peer-to-peer facilities 4031, among other profile acquisition modalities. Profiles consist of tiles (or other units) of data about things, hereafter “tiles” or its homonym “Tilz.” The user acquires a Tilz about something, such as a product (it is understood that the Invention applies not just to products, but also to people, animate and inanimate objects, ideas, or any other thing), by one or more of the aforementioned facilities/modalities. Via a vis scanning the barcode of the product or interrogating the RFID tag of a product, a Tilz (which is the profile of that product) may be returned directly, or indirectly via means wherein the query returns the Internet Protocol (IP) address where more information, the Tilz, may be found for that product. (Other Invention embodiments not involving barcode/RFID facilities are conceived wherein the same or similar data gathering and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites or other means.) Users may also acquire Tilz via network or inter-network (Internet) 4028 means, such as pointing a browser to the Webpage wherefrom Tilz for that product may be downloaded or otherwise acquired. Additionally, users may also acquire Tilz for the product via peer-to-peer 4031 means, such as via Bluetooth from, for example, another user who already has the desired Tilz for that product, say on their mobile device. Other peer-to-peer embodiments such as, but not limited to, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions, facilitated by any number of communication modalities, may be utilized to acquire a Tilz about a particular product. Other modalities are contemplated, consistent with the principles of the Invention. And further, other embodiments of Tilz are conceived wherein in addition to being the profile for a product (or other thing), the Tilz may also act as a wrapper for the product/thing, such as in the case of a song or movie or document, and thereby confer upon the product/thing enhanced functionality.
  • [0949]
    Once a user has acquired one or more Tilz about an object, the resultant Tilz, which is the profile of that object, is presented to the Invention's client 4007 and/or server 4021 software, for sorting into profiles 4011, which consist of logical groups and/or subgroups of one or more Tilz. FIG. 43 illustrates several sample user profiles including the user's movie profile 4305, wine profile 4306, travel profile 4307, groceries profile 4308, and other profiles 4302.
  • [0950]
    A user's profiles 4302, are then presented to the Tilz Platform client/server software 4007/4021 which in embodiments may include profile matching algorithm facilities 4008/4024, user profile database/storage facilities 4009/4025, profile creation facilities 4011, profile management facilities 4012, information serving/provisioning facilities 4013, information storage facilities 4014, transaction facilities 4015, payment facilities 4016, security facilities 4017, internal rules facilities 4018, external rules facilities 4019, analytics facilities 4020/4023 and/or other facilities. One or more of the foregoing facilities then processes the incoming/active profile, by a variety of means not limited to extracting keywords and metadata from the constituent Tilz containing and/or constituting that object's profile.
  • [0951]
    For each profile 4009 submitted to the Tilz Platform, the user makes selections (chooses to accept automatic defaults or system 4000 generated recommendations) regarding what types of data the user would like to receive, or not receive, vis a vis that profile. Granularity of data control extends to the individual Tilz within a profile. Additional choices regarding data reception control include, but are not limited to how, when and where users receive information about the product. (Incoming information about a product is hereinafter assumed to be received via data tiles or Tilz.) The types of data a user may wish to receive regarding a product include but are not limited to ads, offers, information, or other data/content.
  • [0952]
    For example, a user who just bought 50 items at a grocery store may scan the barcode at the bottom of the user's receipt, and thereby automatically receive a Tilz for each and every item they purchased. These grocery item Tilz are then sorted into the user's groceries profile 4308. If the user only eats Wheaties cereal, the user may elect to block, REJECT, any incoming cereal ads (which might annoy the user, who only purchases and eats Wheaties). However, a user who is a buyer of Minute Maid orange juice, and is open to receiving orange juice ads may therefore set their Mobi preference profile regarding orange juice ads to ACCEPT.
  • [0953]
    Users may fine tune, set the granularity of, or otherwise adjust Accept/Reject criteria via the internal rules facility 4018 or other facilities. Internal rules 4018 (such as those set by the user) and external rules 4019 (such as those set by wireless carriers, and other third parties) are applied to user's profiles 4009 and affect various aspects of information delivery and presentation. Examples of rules that can be set manually (by the user) or automatically (by Tilz Platform algorithm facilities 4023) include: 1) How, when, where to receive ads (for instance certain types of ads should be delivered to a user's TV 4030 from 7-9 PM on weeknights, other types of ads are to be delivered via car radio while the user is driving home from work; and still other ads are to be delivered to the user's handset at any time); and 2) Ad reminders: 36 months from now start tire ads. Tilz Platform can log the date the user purchased/installed new tires, and, if the user wishes, blocks tire ads until the user is likely to be in the market again for tires. Conventional targeted advertising fails miserably in this regard: if a user purchases new tires today, then that user doesn't need to see tire ads for, say, 3 years or 36,000 miles. And though the user isn't in the market for tires, that user may in fact use the word “tires” in the meantime, say in an email. Yet a conventional “targeted” advertising approach would likely serve that user tire-related ads (wasting the user's time, and the advertiser's money) during those 3 years.
  • [0954]
    Once one or more profiles has been processed, the Tilz Platform 4000 makes one or more profiles available to select entities via a user profile broadcast 4301, hereafter “ComCloud” aka “commerce communications cloud.” A user's ComCloud may be broadcast by a plurality of modalities including Bluetooth, WiFi, wireless carrier network, Internet, infrared (IrDA), and/or other available means. For example, a user 4802 walking downtown, may choose to have their mobile handset 4801 broadcast the user's ComCloud 4805 (such a broadcast is referred to herein as a “CloudCast”) via Bluetooth in such a manner that the Tilz Platform 4807 acts as a shield against information overload; a number of businesses 4819, 4820, 4821 may wish to send ads/offers/information/et. al 4816, 4817, 4818 via WiFi to the user's mobile handset, however the Tilz Platform 4807 may block the undesired ads/offers/information/et. al., and accept 4822 just those the user wishes 4806.
  • [0955]
    In embodiments, the Tilz Platform matches the profiles of various entities, against the user's profiles 4009, seeking matches for content (information/ads/et. al.) desired by the user against content available by the entity. Such entities may include, manufacturing entities (such as the manufacturer of Minute Maid orange juice), retail entities (such as grocery stores), advertising/marketing entities (such as ad buying agencies or market research firms), other users (who may, for example, share a similar profile), and/or other entities (who may, for example, share a similar profile).
  • [0956]
    In other embodiments, where entity profiles are not made directly available to the Tilz Platform, the Tilz Platform searches other sources such as existing online profiles, and performs profile matching against same.
  • [0957]
    Once one or more matches has been established, the Tilz Platform, as per the user's profile preferences, makes the user's profile available to the selected entity, for free or for a fee 4016 (which the user receives a portion of). Based upon the user's profile 4009, the entity then decides whether or not to pay 4016 to send the user ads/offers/information/et. al. as per the user's preference profile 4009. If the payment amount is non-zero, the user receives a portion of said monies.
  • [0958]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that entities already pay to get their ads/information/et. al. to users; they pay middlemen entities, which make guesses as to which users might be interested in that entity's ads. Middlemen currently peddle profiles based upon guesses (often obtained by spying on users' online activities), and those guess-based profiles are sufficiently valuable that ad-sending entities pay middlemen to acquire such guess-based profiles. With the Tilz Platform, guesses about what users want/need are replaced by facts, from users, who create, manage and monetize their own profiles—automatically via the Tilz Platform. With the Tilz Platform, ad-sending entities no longer need to guess which customers and potential customers to reach and how to reach them. And since customers and potential customers instead manifest their profiles directly, via the Tilz Platform, to such entities, middlemen may be disintermediated. Thus, in a logical value-for-value transaction, users are paid for the inherent value of their profiles, which because they are based-upon actual products/services a user actually utilizes, are more accurate, and thus more valuable, than the guess-based profiles from middlemen common to the conventional art.
  • [0959]
    For example, the above orange juice user might (be paid to) receive an ad from Minute Maid, which thereby hopes to convince the user to stay loyal to Minute Maid. However, if the user sets their Tilz Platform preferences 4009 to accept ads/offers/information/et. al. 4013 from competing entities, the user might be paid 4016 to receive an ad from a Minute Maid competitor, such as Florida's Best orange juice, which thereupon presents information in their ad endeavoring to cause the user to switch brands. Such ads/information/et. al. if presented to the Tilz Platform in a format other than Tilz MDF, may be transformed into Tilz MDF as per the transformation facility 4010 module.
  • [0960]
    In embodiments, the transformation facility 4010 method consists of an input agent which identifies the language format 4001 for the incoming digital content 4003, such as a song in .MP3 format. A job processor determines when an MDF file 4002 (Tilz) is desired and communicates instructions to the translator 4010. The translator 4010 generates an MDF file 4004 in response to the instructions and digital content metadata, as per the user's profile 4009. The Translator 4010 then integrates a subset of user profile information 4009 into the resultant MDF file metadata.
  • [0961]
    A main purpose of the transformation system and method 4010 described herein above is to create a universal data format that enhances the metadata for something into a full profile that actively informs interactions and transactions with regard to that thing. Hence Tilz. Tilz are profiles.
  • [0962]
    Once the user has created Tilz for their objects, family, friends, and anything else they wish, they can, via a plurality of means, broadcast their profiles 4013, which consist of Tilz, in such a manner that users can interact and transact 4015 with related parties by profile matching 4024 the Tilz metadata information: Users may socially network around shared interests; Users may be paid 4016 to receive ads/offers/information/et. al. about their products; Users may perform a novel type of search regarding any item wherein information comes to the user automatically: for a user needing a new refrigerator, the user adds the Tilz of their old fridge into their ComCloud (a profile Tilz broadcast) and thereby starts to automatically receive information/ads/offers/et. al. from those entities that can supply a new fridge that meets the user's profile (such as kitchen cabinet space requirements).
  • [0963]
    Pursuant to the above, Invention server-side facilities 4021 are provided. A profile serving and matching facility 4024 is configured to transmit profiles to/from mobile handsets 4031 as well as other remote devices 4029, 4030. The profile serving and matching facility 4024 work in conjunction with the algorithm facility 4023 which is configured to filter and match a plurality of available information/ads/offers/et. al. (configured into data “tiles” or the homonym thereto, data “Tilz”) based upon metadata for each such information/ad/offer/et. al., against profiles 4301 of items a user has indicated a desire to receive (or not) information/ads/offers/et. al. for. A database server 4025 facilitates user profiles and preferences, as well as a rules facility by which certain actions must accord. A Tilz creation facility 4010 is configured, as per system 4000, to create Tilz, and refresh and sync the content thereof. A module is configured for storage, reception, transmission and broadcast 4022, 4031, 4301 of messages and other data, and in particular those data configured into profiles (a module hereafter referred to as “ComCloud”). The ComCloud module includes profile creation, filtering, and matching facilities.
  • [0964]
    Invention widget client-side facilities 4007 are provided configured for operation on mobile handsets 4031 and other devices. A Tilz creation facility 4010 is configured, as per system 4000, to create Tilz, and refresh and sync the content thereof. In embodiments the information translation facility 4010 translates incoming language formats into binary, and therefrom into MDF, the Tilz proprietary markup language format. A wallet module configured to produce digital versions of credit cards, tickets, passports, et. al. is provided. A ComCloud module is configured for operation by the Invention widget.
  • [0965]
    Users create new or update existing profiles 4025, 4301 by a plurality of means, including, for instance, scanning an ad 4032 in a newspaper for an item a user is interested in. The scan results in a query which returns a data tile (Tilz), about the subject item, to the user's mobile handset 4031. This data tile or Tilz is a profile of that item. For example, if the user scanned an ad for a bottle of Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine, and received the Tilz for same, the client-side widget 4007 queries the user as to whether or not the user would like to receive information/ads/offers/et. al. pertaining to Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The user's profile is updated presently by (the client-side software 4007 on the user's mobile device 4031, and/or) the server-side facilities 4021, which receive transmission of the query results via a plurality of communication modalities 4028. The user's updated profile is returned therefrom to the user's widget 4007 for inclusion in the user's profile broadcast 4013, 4301 (ComCloud). The ComCloud 4013, 4301 can be configured for various broadcast distances from global to just a few feet. For example, the mobile handset ComCloud 4013 may be configured for use via Bluetooth, which has limited range. Bluetooth range may be sufficient however to reach grocery stores the user is passing by which might otherwise be able to provision and/or sell the user-desired bottle of wine (and effect the transaction pursuant thereto via ComCloud). Or alternatively the user could broadcast (CloudCast) via the Internet the user's interest in Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon wine, whereupon entities that can supply that wine could send the user ads/offers/information/et. al. regarding same.
  • [0966]
    Master Tilz 4026 are the parent Tilz for a plurality of related/dependent Tilz. For example, Acme makes the clock radio model 1000, and sells 10,000 units. In embodiments, there will be one Master Tilz maintained by Acme Corporation, and the other 10,000 (slave) Tilz, all subscribe to the Master Tilz. All 10,000 slave Tilz contain the same general information (e.g. product manual, tech specifications, etc.), but differ in specific information, commencing with the serial number for each clock radio, which is its ID number, which is the IP address for the Tilz, which is the profile for that clock radio.
  • [0967]
    FIG. 41 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of how Tilz 4108 can be utilized to program a user's ceiling fan light 4102 to go on and off at various hours of the night, while the user is away on vacation, as a theft deterrent.
  • [0968]
    As per the conventional art, programming a ceiling fan is a tedious, non-intuitive process. The user has to perform a complex series of steps involving a convoluted series of button presses on the fan switch plate 4105, 4103 to cause the light to go on and off at the desired times/days. With Tilz, however, that all changes. With Tilz a user seeking to program the light in their ceiling fan 4102 to go on and off at set times/days while the user is on vacation, scans the barcode/RFID 4106 on the fan switch plate 4105, and thereby receives the Tilz 4108 for the ceiling fan on the user's mobile handset 4104. The Tilz 4108 includes user selectable options, such as the product manual and the software widget. The user selects 4109 the widget, which downloads 4107 the ceiling fan widget 4110 to the user's mobile handset. The ceiling fan widget 4110 provides a simple software program with intuitive user interface that easily facilities the desired light programming
  • [0969]
    This ceiling fan widget 4110 may then stay resident on the user's digital device 4104, or be flushed/deleted, and downloaded again on an ad hoc basis. By retaining the widget 4110 on the user's handset 4104, however, the user retains the application functionality, which can be utilized even without an Internet/WiFi/wireless carrier connection 4107 available, via local means such as Bluetooth or RFID (assuming, of course, such or other communication modalities are (someday) built into ceiling fan switch plates).
  • [0970]
    Scanning the barcode/RFID 4106 on the fan switch plate 4105, 4103 returns Tilz 4108 associated with that ceiling fan. Each user may receive a different set of Tilz 4108, depending upon their preference profile. Examples of Tilz 4108 a user might receive may include the Tilz 4108 from the manufacturer (product specifications, product manual, a widget 4110 (a Webified mini-software application) that enables the user to control/program the ceiling fan, ability to contact manufacturer with questions regarding tech support, use, repair, replacement, etc.); Tilz 4108 from retailers who carry this same ceiling fan, or similar competing ceiling fans, and thus could offer repair services or replacement items; Tilz 4108 from manufacturers of competing ceiling fans (ads, offers, information that could potentially convince the user to switch to their competing ceiling fan); Tilz 4108 from entities that offer ceiling fan reviews (Consumer Reports, etc.); as well as other entities' Tilz as per the user's preference profile.
  • [0971]
    FIG. 42 is a depiction of an embodiment of an example user profile, wherein the movie profile 4201 is informed by a tile of information, a Tilz, for every movie the user has already seen 4202, in addition to a Tilz for each movie the user would like to see in the future 4203; as combined with optional location 4206 and score 4207 data.
  • [0972]
    In embodiments users receive a Tilz 4204 each time they consume a movie and thereby their movie profile is automatically built. The Tilz may contain a profile of that movie watching experience. No matter whether a user sees a movie in the theater, buys the DVD, watches it on pay-per-view, a premium channel (such as HBO), or on a “free” channel, the user may receive a Tilz. For example, if a user goes to see a movie in the theater, they receive the Tilz 4204 as their receipt for purchasing the ticket. In addition, the Tilz profile of the user's movie watching experience might include information such as the name of the movie watched; the theater name/address where the user consumed the movie; the movie showing time; ticket price; paid with credit card xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-1234; items purchased at the snack bar; games played in the lobby; movie rating by the user; et. al. Alternative embodiments not involving Tilz are conceived wherein the same or similar data tracking and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites.
  • [0973]
    In embodiments a user's Movies Already Seen profile 4202 is built-up automatically over time, or users can choose to manually (or via other means) supplant their movie profile. Similarly, a user's Movies Not Yet Seen profile 4203 is automatically built-up over time via a plurality of means, including but not limited to scanning the barcodes of ads in the periodicals/newspapers/et. al.; digitally marking an ad the user hears on the radio or sees on TV; and/or recommendation by a friend or colleague; for movies the user hasn't yet seen, but wants to. In each case the user receives the Tilz for the movie, which is then added to the user's movie profile 4201.
  • [0974]
    Users may choose to include location information 4206 in their movie profile, such as the zip code in which the user wishes to consume that particular movie (location preference, can be per profile as a whole, or per individual Tilz). This information may be vital to potential ad-sending entities. For example, only those movie theaters near where the user wishes to consume the movie, may be interested in paying the user to send the user ads/offers/information/et. al. related to same.
  • [0975]
    In embodiments where ad-sending entities pay users to send ads to the user, the user must prove to the satisfaction of the ad-sending entity that the user (as per FIG. 42) is a legitimate movie-going user, whose expected future stream of movie-related expenditures 4203 are sufficient to warrant paying the user in the hopes of enticing that user to become a customer of the ad-sending entity. An additional tool ad-sending entities may wish to avail themselves of is the user's Web Cred score 4207. Similar in concept to a user's credit report FICO score, a Web Cred score is a numerical expression of a user's Web credibility; that is to say, a computed figure that examines factors such as the relationship between the number of information requests versus purchases for a given product. And in the same way that a FICO score informs a credit card company's decision to issue a person a credit card or not, an ad-sending entity may choose to factor a user's Web Cred score in deciding whether or not to pay to send ads/offers/information/et. al. to a given user.
  • [0976]
    FIG. 43 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of Tilz as the constituent elements of a user's profile broadcast 4301 which was just informed by the user scanning an ad 4319 for a movie the user wanted to see; whereupon a commercial slot 4317 is later filled, when that user watches TV, by the Tilz for the movie trailer 4311 of the movie whose ad 4319 the user (just) scanned.
  • [0977]
    Tilz enables users to carry with them, for instance literally on their mobile device 4303, their profiles of everything. Users can store the Tilz on, and broadcast 4304 from, their mobile handset 4303. And such profiles, with Tilz 4302 as their constituent elements are continuously being updated by users various real world (and online) interactions and transactions. In this case, a user who scanned the ad 4319 for a movie the user wanted to see, did thereby update the user's movie profile 4305.
  • [0978]
    Companies with products, services and/or information related to that movie, might then pay the user to receive Tilz regarding same. One such Tilz might be the trailer 4311 for that movie, which may be slotted into a commercial break 4317 at a time of the user's choosing; and in preference to an ad that was likely much less relevant to the user than an ad which the user actively solicited—in this case, more information about a desired movie.
  • [0979]
    Tilz function with or without Internet, with or without wireless carrier provided network, and with or without other communication modalities such as WiFi. For example, if after the user scanned the ad 4319, the user ventured into an area where the user had no wireless carrier coverage, the user could still receive the desired movie-related information. Users can broadcast 4304 their profiles 4301 via means such as Bluetooth via their mobile handset 4303. Similarly other users can do so as well. Thus profiles 4302 can be matched between users. In this case if someone who walked nearby had the trailer Tilz 4311 for that movie on their mobile device. The user may receive the movie trailer Tilz 4311 via Bluetooth, then that movie trailer Tilz informs a commercial break 4317 while the user is watching TV later that night—again transmitted via Bluetooth to the user's TV or set top box or transmitted directly to the TV from the mobile handset 4303 itself.
  • [0980]
    A user's profile broadcast (ComCloud) 4301 can be broadcast from many devices, including a user's mobile handset, via a plurality of means such as Bluetooth or via Internet, or peer-to-peer via various means such as infrared (IrDA) or other. Thus the gathering and matching of Tilz can take place between almost anytime—continuously informing interactions and transactions.
  • [0981]
    Finally, Tilz metadata can include functions such as rules. For instance, how, when and where to receive certain types/profiles of ads. And Tilz can included ad reminders. If a user just purchased tires for their car, they don't need to see tire ads for 36 months or 36,0000 miles. Thus the users car profile can block tires ads for 36 months, then start accepting tire ads again pursuant to another tire purchase at that time.
  • [0982]
    FIG. 44 is an illustration of an embodiment of an example depiction of the conceptual basis for Tilz: Tilz are like a digital baseball card for every object 4401, person 4103, idea 4305, anything, everything.
  • [0983]
    The impetus for Tilz is to create a usable profile for everything, and thereby enable more efficient and enjoyable interactions and transactions. And not just every object 4401, but every person 4403, animal, animate and inanimate entity, molecule, atom, thought, philosophy, intention, . . . everything.
  • [0984]
    A Tilz 4400 profile of something may be presented in a limitless plurality of formats (shapes, sizes, colors, animated with sound, 3D, etc.). As shown herein the Tilz appear as the two sides to a digital baseball card—an atmospheric metaphor. Considering the profile for the couch 4401, the Tilz 4402 might include such information such as a picture on the cover Tilz, and very little other information. Just enough information to discover at a glance, the subject of the Tilz.
  • [0985]
    As a practical matter, a user who needed to have their couch cleaned, or was in the market for a new couch, may simply scan the barcode/RFID on their couch 4401, to receive the Tilz for same. The resultant Tilz 4402, which is downloaded directly onto the user's mobile handset (or other device of choice), contains a plurality of information such as dimensions, fabric materials, couch style information, available colors and the details of the furniture protection plan. The user may simply add their couch Tilz 4402 to their profiles broadcast (ComCloud), and update the couch profile to indicate the user's wants/needs: in this case, seeking cleaning bids, and also ads/offers/information/et. al. pertaining to a new couch. Because the vendors who can either clean the old couch or sell the user a new couch, may view the user's couch Tilz 4402 (if allowed by user), they may see salient information such as what types of cleaning products work with that type of fabric; and what dimensions the new couch will likely be similar to.
  • [0986]
    Without Tilz, the burden would be on the user to take the user's time, over and over, to explain to potential vendors the users wants/needs. With Tilz “digital baseball card” profiles, vendors have the information they need at their fingertips.
  • [0987]
    Tilz 4400 “digital baseball cards” are not limited to just two screens of information (which for convenience sake may be presented thusly) similar to an actual baseball card; indeed users can tap on various portions of the Tilz to discover further information available (in a manner similar to hypertext links on Web pages). Thus an unlimited amount of information potentially may be discovered relating to the item in question.
  • [0988]
    If the person 4403 in the present figure were not married, that user could instead create a Tilz profile of who they'd like to date, and thereby meet others with whom they potentially have a lot in common, as both parties may have a ComCloud profile broadcast 4301 of all their various profiles.
  • [0989]
    And not only do Tilz automatically attract information they user may find useful (such as couch cleaning vendors), but Tilz provide the basis for users to monetize their profiles. For a user possessing a Tilz for (the idea 4405) Vegan Diet, that user may be paid by entities such as Suzy's Organic Cafe 4406 to appear in a sub Tilz (a Tilz within a Tilz), as a place where that user may enjoy vegan meals.
  • [0990]
    FIG. 45 is a table illustrating the distinctions between the Web's aging fundamental technologies, and their modern, designed for the mobile handset age, replacements including the present Invention, Tilz 4502 which supplant and/or update the aging hypertext markup language protocol 4501.
  • [0991]
    Created over a decade ago, the Web is informed by three fundamental elements (HTML, URL, HTTP) which are becoming ever more inconsistent with the rapid changes in devices and network usage. The PC was the dominant computing device when the Web was born in 1990, whereas today the mobile handset is beginning to emerge as the next major computing platform. A majority of conventional art networking protocols were designed for IP devices that were stationary. In short, some of the primary technological assumptions that informed the creation of the Web are no longer true today.
  • [0992]
    Therefore it is desirable for more advanced technologies to replace the Web's aging fundamental technologies, starting with HTML. Not credibly described as user-friendly HTML was designed by an engineer for other engineers. But for the billions of non software engineers on the planet HTML is an undecipherable, foreign language. Tilz replace HTML, as Tilz can be created using any software program, and simply saved as a Tilz. Once in Tilz MDF (mobile digital-content) format, a user can add the Tilz into their ComCloud profile broadcast and in seconds, with no programming needed, an average user has just created and hosted shareable content, via Tilz.
  • [0993]
    Similarly, it's time for the next version beyond URL and HTTP. IPv21 is an ID number for every object/person/thing on earth—an ID number, which is the IP address, for the Tilz, which is the profile, of that object/person/thing And with ComCloud, instead of using an opaque hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) to move bits about, users can simply do so by dragging and dropping (or otherwise moving) items into their ComCloud.
  • [0994]
    FIG. 46 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture of a Website, that not only is a Tilz as whole, but each element of the Website (text, photos, ads, etc.) are each Tilz themselves—each Tilz with its own IP address. Tilz within Tilz.
  • [0995]
    Each article or ad or table of contents (or other item) on a Website may each be in its own Tilz, with its own IP address. Readers may, for example, mark or select any particular section of a Website for later reference, downloading, printing (or other reason). For example, an address book can be a Tilz. Each entry in the address book is also a Tilz. Tilz within a Tilz. Each address book entry is a contact Tilz (“Tactilz”). Users may include another Tilz within any other Tilz, such as a bank statement entry for payment to the veterinarian, within the Tactilz address book entry for the user's veterinarian. Users can drag Tilz from one document (a bank statement entry) to another (their address book Tactilz), and have it include live data.
  • [0996]
    In embodiments Websites are comprised of Tilz. And with Tilz users may no longer have to go to the information technology (IT) person to add content to a Website. Any authorized user may simply drag a Tilz onto the hosted Website Tilz—and that content may be instantly available to all subscribers of that Tilz—including users simply viewing it online, as per conventional art Websites.
  • [0997]
    Tilz may replace Websites. Such an architecture has many advantages including the ability to grab any element/item individually, and easily add that item to one's ComCloud profile broadcast.
  • [0998]
    Most users have a dozen or so Websites they visit often. Users may keep (subsets of) those Websites in Tilz format, on their mobile handset or digital device of choice. Those Tilz may contain the user-selected version of those Tilz Websites, say CNN, ESPN, Google, Yahoo, Amazon, etc., and be updated each time a user has a network connections (or updates the Tilz content via other means, such as peer-to-peer with another user or other entity).
  • [0999]
    Tilz presents Websites in a size format that suits the mobile handset. Tilz versions of Websites, stored locally on the digital device of choice for the user (PC, TV, mobile handset, et. al.) helps to reduce Internet traffic, since some of the information the a user may be seeking from their most commonly visited Websites, may be right on their mobile handset already.
  • [1000]
    A software widget may be set by the user to track the user's most frequently used Website Tilz, and automatically keep the most commonly accessed information from each Website on those local Tilz on, say, the user's mobile handset (as per the disk space allocation preferences the user sets in the user's profile). That is to say, the entire contents of a Website are not necessarily kept locally, just an auto-syncing, customized local copy (a ParaSite).
  • [1001]
    FIG. 47 is a functional block diagram of an embodiment of an example of profile-based links 4701 Unlike links on Webpages, which take different users who click on the same link to the same destination, Tilz links are profile-based, and thus take different users 4703, 4704, 4705 to different destinations 4709, 4710, 4711 based upon each user's profile 4706, 4707, 4708.
  • [1002]
    There are billions of people on earth and not all of them like chocolate ice cream. Some prefer vanilla, or strawberry, or don't like ice cream at all. The point is we're all different. And yet conventional art hypertext links treat everyone on earth the same. If a thousand people click on a link, all thousand may be taken to the exact same destination. But that one destination may not be the best destination for all thousand people. It's time for profile-based links 4701.
  • [1003]
    There are profiles of people and things all over the Web, those profiles can enhance interactions and transactions, both online and offline. Whether such profiles are created by Tilz (in embodiments as per FIG. 40) or by any other means, it would be desirable to have those profiles inform one of the most common navigation modalities on the Web—links
  • [1004]
    Tilz feature profile-based links 4701. User profiles exist (as the per preceding paragraph), now they just need to be matched to tagged content. Such content can be online or offline Online content tagging is familiar to those skilled in the art. Offline content tagging may be accomplished by a plurality of methods including scanning a barcode/RFID for an object, which query returns the IP address where more information about that object may be found (such as a Website, ParaSite, Tilz, or other thing). The Tilz Platform profile server 4024 matches users profiles to tagged content. In embodiments, tagged content may be based upon profiles of other users with whom one shares affinity characteristics. In embodiments users may set their link destination profile to be influenced by the links most popular with any number of groups: such as their friends, baseball lovers, food aficionados, Republicans, etc. Additionally users may set their link profile to “subscribe to” or “follow” the prospective link destinations of others. For instance, a user might not be a wine expert, but know someone who is. The user could “subscribe to” (for free or for a fee) or “follow” that wine expert's link metadata, to be taken to the same destinations as that expert for wine-related links
  • [1005]
    In embodiments profile-based links are facilitated by a unique technology—reverse Web cookies. Conventional Web cookies are, in embodiments, a packet of data sent by an Internet server to a browser, which is returned (if not otherwise deleted) by the browser each time it subsequently accesses the same Internet server, and is used to identify the user or track their access to the Internet server. In embodiments, with reverse Web cookies (“My Cookiez”), instead of an Internet server pushing a packet to the user's browser, the user's browser pushes the user's packet to the Internet server. The user's packet contains (links to) the user's salient profile information. In embodiments, the user's packet contains the Internet protocol (IP) address (a pointer to) where the user's more complete profile information may be found. Vis a vis Tilz users, their profiles may be extant in a plurality of locations, including the profile server 4024. Thus informed, the Internet server for a Web page containing the link word “ice cream” may send chocolate ice cream lovers to one location, vanilla to another, and lactose intolerant people to suitable substitutes.
  • [1006]
    Vis a vis FIG. 47, the linked word “wine” 4702 is a profile-based link, that takes three different users Sam 4703, Karen 4704, and Pete 4705 to three different destinations. Sam's wine profile 4706 indicates a preference (which could be circumstance or time-based, such as when Sam is unemployed) for inexpensive wine 3612, thus Sam is directed to vendors of inexpensive wine or other sources with information relating to inexpensive wine, such as Trader Joe's 4709. Similarly, Karen's wine profile 4707 indicates a preference for French wines 4713 (based perhaps upon wines Karen recently ordered/consumed in restaurants, as per her Restaurant profile) and thus Karen is directed to a site such as Chateau Margaux 4710. Finally Pete's wine profile 4708 indicates a preference for premium wine 4714 (according to recent additions to his wine cellar, as per his Wine Cellar profile) and a current fondness for Napa wines, and is thus directed to a site such as Nickel & Nickel 4711.
  • [1007]
    In embodiments, direction to destination sites, in response to profiles (and profile-based links) may be auctioned by the Tilz Platform for premium data placement 4712 (an unique variation on paid search, wherein the user gets paid, as opposed to the search middleman). For example, there are many premium wineries in Napa, so those who wish to have users directed to their site, may bid for priority.
  • [1008]
    FIG. 48 is a functional block diagram illustrating an embodiment of an example of Tilz as the constituent elements of profiles 4805, 4816, 4817, 4818, which are matched, by matching the data/metadata appurtenant to Tilz; thereby facilitating desirable features such as Tilz-based profiles 4805 preventing information overload. Only desired content 4806 (Tilz) gets through to the user 4802.
  • [1009]
    Yogurt Store 4819, Pizza Place 4820 and Dry Cleaner 4821 are broadcasting the their businesses' profiles 4816, 4817, 4818, via a plurality of means including WiFi, cellular carrier network, Bluetooth, and other communication modalities. These profiles (Tilz) might include (but not be limited to) items such as ads 4813, offers, coupons 4812, and other information 4814 related to that business. In addition, such businesses could, for example, broadcast their actual realtime inventory levels 4808 of each item they carry.
  • [1010]
    Rather than bombard each user 4803 or entity 4809 within reach of that business' broadcast, the businesses employ the Invention's profile matching facility 4807, wherein the businesses profiles are matched against the profiles 4805 of the user 4802 or entities receiving the profile broadcast.
  • [1011]
    As per the present exemplifying architecture, the user 4802 happens to be broadcasting the user's profiles via Bluetooth via the user's mobile handset 4801. According to the user's profile 4805 the user is unwilling to receive yogurt coupons 4812 or dry cleaning information 4814; whereupon like items are rejected by the Invention's profile matching facility—the yogurt coupon is rejected 4811, and thereby does not attempt to gain the user's attention or clutter up the user's profile; and similarly the dry cleaning information is rejected 4815.
  • [1012]
    On the other hand, the user's profile 4805 is amenable to pizza ads 4813, and thus a match 4822 is accorded by the Invention's profile matching facility 4807. Thus that pizza ad 4806 is transmitted to the user's profile 4805. Depending upon the user's preference profile, the user may view the ad right away, or, for example, that pizza ad 4806 may be inserted into a commercial break when the user 4802 is watching television later that night.
  • [1013]
    Furthermore, the pizza ad may be presented in a plurality of digital formats, including Tilz, which is a transactable object, and thus, for example, upon viewing the ad, the user 4802 may choose to order a pizza, and pay for same via the user's digital device 4801.
  • [1014]
    Other embodiments are envisioned, wherein entities other than businesses such as other people, government entities, objects, machines, and other entities 4810, may utilize a version of system 4800 (or other embodiments of the Invention) in order to interact and transact with various entities.
  • [1015]
    In many cases, however, some/all entities involved broadcast the profiles of their wants and needs 4804, 4808, including, for instance, the various products/services the entities utilize/offer, and the Invention thereby facilitates interaction and transactions by matching said profiles.
  • [1016]
    FIG. 49 is a depiction of an embodiment of an exemplifying architecture illustrating a plurality of methods by which users can create Tilz 4903.
  • [1017]
    Tilz are a flexible object space, configured to be compatible with third party software. Users must have the right to use such third party software. Users must either have the third party software licensed and installed on the device 4904 on which the Tilz is being created/edited (or other user-owned device which conveys therein use rights on other user-owned devices); or must have obtained licensed rights for remote access 4902 to the third party software code 4901, such as with application service providers wherein users access the software code via remote servers 4901.
  • [1018]
    In either case, the Tilz information translation facility 4010 automatically converts native format to binary and then to Tilz MDF format. Analogy: instead of converting files to HTML as when displaying a file created with third party software on a Webpage, third party file formats are converted instead to Tilz MDF format. In embodiments a user who has created a file in a third party software program 4905, wherein MDF has been configured for operation, then may choose to save 4906 another copy of the file as MDF 4907.
  • [1019]
    Tilz may be created in two way: Converted and Native. As in the above paragraph, regarding Converted code, users create, say, a document with Microsoft Word, then save the document not just in “.doc” (dot doc) format, but also the Tilz “.MDF” (dot MDF) format. For a Native Tilz, third parties port their software code to be machine executable on the micro operating system/browser code built into each Tilz. That is to say, third party software runs on the Tilz OS/browser platform. As third parties re-write their software applications as smaller, simpler applications for the new computing platform (mobile digital devices and similar), they can choose to write native code for the Tilz platform.
  • [1020]
    These and other objects and features of the present Invention may become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims, or may be learned by the description and practice of the Invention as set forth hereinafter.
  • Digital Content Player
  • [1021]
    In embodiments, Tilz are configured to play various digital content. Additionally, Tilz enable third party digital content players to embed their functionality in Tilz. In embodiments Tilz have a built-in mini-player that supports a plurality of types of digital content. Users can thereby play, pause, rewind or fast forward some video or music contained in the Tilz. Additionally, in embodiments, Tilz feature a “slide show” function built-in that will play each picture or page of a document, one picture/page at a time, with user selected intervals and transitions. The slide show function displays a slideshow of the covers of the content in that folder. Slide Show example: the list of Tilz being viewed can be seen as a slide show, at a user-adjustable rate of frame advance.
  • Content Editor
  • [1022]
    In embodiments Tilz have a built-in text and image editor, to enable alterations of Tilz content without need, in some cases, for the software program in which the document was created.
  • Animation
  • [1023]
    In embodiments Tilz support digital animation protocols and enable third parties to supply their own animation technology, as per the Tilz Tech Specs.
  • Tilz Styles
  • [1024]
    Users may buy, sell, and trade templates for various types of documents (and other things). Though some templates are provided via the Tilz Website, there are no limitations as to the styles users may choose for their Tilz. For example, some Tilz may appear like shiny, hard plastic. Other Tilz may appear like soft, gummy candy material. Third parties such as graphic artists, and users at large, are free to upload Tilz covers or templates and make them available with an exclusive or non-exclusive license, such that other users may use as a template for customized covers for their digital documents. Full color, high gloss, and even 3-D graphic or photo renderings of actual objects, are among the plurality of types of Tilz cover art supported.
  • [1025]
    The Tilz Website provides Tilz templates with a plurality of user-created and uploaded attributes and looks (e.g. flashing neon lights for text fonts, different colored backgrounds, fonts, transitions from slide thumbnail to the next slide thumbnail, etc.) that other users may utilize.
  • Tilz Tricks
  • [1026]
    Tilz Trickz (how Tilz are displayed and move around a screen) may be uploaded and traded by various users. For example one embodiment of a Tilz trick shares setups similar to elaborate domino toppling tricks. These tricks are simply more interesting ways of users navigating the digital equivalent of a user walking up to a physical filing cabinet to search for a file.
  • Cover Tilz
  • [1027]
    Users may select a Cover Tilz for a document (or other thing), or, by default, the Tilz may be a thumbnail image (a visual preview) of the first page or picture or frame of that file. Users may have a consistent Cover Tilz for all their Tilz, such as Bob's Documents might each feature a small picture of Bob; or even customize each Cover Tilz individually. In embodiments Cover Tilz may contain a short single sentence summary of the content of that file, and may optionally display the tag keywords. Tilz may also be displayed via cover art for documents and digital content. Such cover art for various types of content may be traded.
  • Transfer Tilz
  • [1028]
    Any user may establish their own transfer Tilz. Just drag and drop any file, movie, video, or digital object at all onto the user's transfer Tilz and it can be made available for viewing by or transfer to other users (subject to user-set size limitations and digital content rights).
  • Touchscreen Compatible
  • [1029]
    In embodiments Tilz are touchscreen compatible and can be manipulated, for instance, with a flick of a finger on touchscreen enabled digital devices. For example users may move lists up and down, or send Tilz left and right with a flick of their finger on a touchscreen capable display or touch pad.
  • Tilz Display the Document Contents
  • [1030]
    For example the Tilz representing a folder filled with various documents might, in embodiments, be a shiny, translucent Tilz which features an automatically rotating set of thumbnail images of documents in that folder (and similarly so for thumbnails from a Website or video or any other digital content).
  • Attribute Denotation
  • [1031]
    Different sizes, shapes, colors of Tilz denote many different user-selectable and user-changeable attributes: indicating, for example, that the item is text, or pictures, or music, or video, or mixed content, etc. What any one size, shape and/or color means may be set by each user. And other attributes, for instance flashing colors or a pulsing Tilz background, may mean that Tilz requires the user's attention.
  • Communication
  • [1032]
    Tilz are configured for inter-Tilz communication, enabling Tilz (and thus the users of Tilz) to communicate with each other. In embodiments Tilz have a proprietary text message style communication—a Tilz message, which enables communication irrespective of the underlying operating system—to network Tilz with other Tilz. Users may also click on the Tilz phone icon to make a phone call to another person from within a Tilz. Furthermore, users may send a ringtone—or any other introductory digital content (audio/video/text/image/etc.) they wish, assuming the user has acquired the necessary digital rights thereto.
  • Tilz Chat
  • [1033]
    In embodiments, users may select the phone (or other) icon on a Tilz to communicate with another Tilz user and may, according to the user's preference profile, use the audio or video communication modality of their choice: such as Phone Widge, third party means, or other means. Tilz Chat also enables users to interface with various instant messaging (IM) clients, or the Tilz Chat widget in a Tilz to enable chat, IM, voice chat, or video chat (including the ability to run a slide presentation that both parties can view). Users may click on the Tilz chat icon to chat with another user who is viewing a Live Tilz (a Tilz with access via the Internet or other means to other Tilz) or has their choice of chat program active.
  • Network Node Software
  • [1034]
    A downloadable patch is available on the Tilz Website (ParaSite) that switch, router, load balancer and hub (and other device) manufacturers may download to their network node devices to prevent unauthorized transmission of Tilz on/via/through their network devices, for instance, of restricted or copyrighted Tilz content. The Tilz restrictions are linked to the IP address/ID number for that Tilz, which the patch may double check for before sending the packet on its way.
  • Tilz Tags
  • [1035]
    Tilz creators may add tags to any Tilz, making them easier to search and database capable. Tilz creators may also choose (or not) to let readers/subscribers/other entities place keyword tags on a given Tilz. In embodiments the Tilz creator then has the option of approving and/or editing such (reader/subscriber/other) third party-placed tags.
  • Tag-Based Search
  • [1036]
    Tilz tags address the thorny search problem for pictures and videos, since all Tilz support tags that create searchable keywords. Many technology approaches are being tried including highly specialized chips that attempt to mimic the incredible processing power of the human visual cortex. Tilz takes a simpler approach and enables users to simply post a few tag keywords to pictures (or groups of pictures) and images (such as videos, TV shows, movies, etc.), as a means of making the content searchable.
  • Options
  • [1037]
    Various embodiments of Tilz have user-selectable options including:
  • [1038]
    Opacity/transparency—users can make a given Tilz any level of transparency, for instance, to expose or hide the Tilz below it;
  • [1039]
    Color—users can choose any colors they like and may assign meaning to each color, such as Red for Do Now, Green for Completed Tasks, Blue for Work Documents, etc. The Tilz Website enables third parties to upload colors and/or patterns for others to use for free or for a fee;
  • [1040]
    Shape—Tilz can be any shape the user chooses, and the Tilz Website enables third parties to upload shape templates for others to use for free or for a fee
  • Live Element Sync
  • [1041]
    Any content on any Tilz may be auto-updated, by simply changing the master Tilz element (which may also be a subscribable element). For example let's say a user has placed a logo in several documents and also on the Web in several places. Then the user changes the some aspect of the logo. If the user has opted-in to the Live Element Sync option then wherever the logo appears in Tilz, it may be updated next time each of the Tilz has Internet connectivity (or other means of accessing a newer version of that Tilz). So too if a company changes their logo, all Tilz (documents, Websites, videos, anything) that have that logo subTilz in/on them, may be automatically updated, and so too may the plurality of dependent/slaved Tilz, as per each Tilz' preference profile
  • Preference Adjustable
  • [1042]
    Tilz change and respond according to each user's preference profiles, and other profiles, which may belong to the user or another entity. Once a user sets up their preference profile, all Tilz, for instance, that user sees may present the information in the format preferred by that user.
  • Custom Content
  • [1043]
    When users watch a program or movie on Tilz, additional content may be displayed according to a user's preference profile: such as on-screen story background information (for example, “This was the third day of shooting, and it rained all night before, so the area was soaked . . . ”) Custom content may also include such items as behind-the-scenes insider information (“That day the hairdresser didn't show up, so the lead actress wore the wig now seen in the movie.”).
  • Personal Metadata
  • [1044]
    Personal metadata is the personal information and the user's rights regarding the digital content. For example the personal metadata for a user renting the movie Black Rain:
  • [0000]
    Metadata: Movie: Black Rain. Starring: Michael Douglas. Length: 125 minutes
    Personal metadata: User's Item Rights:
    User rental expires Sep. 27, 2001
    User paid Fee: $2 to rent it from Vendor: Blockbuster
    User has viewed Item: Black Rain—One time before this Rental.
    User also viewed Related Items: Black Rain 2 and Black Rain 3, and saw 11 other Michael Douglas movies.
  • Tilz Ratings
  • [1045]
    Tilz and all Tilz related elements are user-ratable. Users may rate any aspect of the Tilz such as information accuracy, design, etc. Users may also rate third party uploads—items such as third party Tilz templates. Third party uploads without a very high rating may not be a wise choice for user concerned about viruses or other types of malware.
  • Parental Controls
  • [1046]
    Tilz supports (among other ratings systems, such as those for videogames) the Motion Picture Association of America ratings system. The content on Tilz may also be rated by the Tilz creator or other Tilz users via the corner menus—depending upon the preference settings for that Tilz. Tilz also provides an automated rating checking system that scans for keywords to determine or verify the rating of any Tilz. Rating categories include, but are not limited to: G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X, XX, XXX, MA (L, S, V, N, AC). Video or picture Tilz can also be self-rated or labeled as Unrated.
  • Orientation
  • [1047]
    Nine square orientation allows mobile handset users, for instance, to view just a portion of a Webpage but still know where on the full size Webpage, the Tilz they are viewing is situated.
  • [1048]
    A darkened (or otherwise highlighted) square may indicate where the Tilz appears on the full size view of the Webpage (as if the Webpage were divided into nine squares, on a 3×3 grid).
  • Information Assimilation
  • [1049]
    Tilz continuously attract and assimilate related content. Content can be curated for free, or for a fee, by the expertise of others/third parties. And via paid assimilation (an analog to “paid search”) users may be paid to receive related content.
  • Navigation
  • [1050]
    Tilz may be viewed as cover pages arranged in a horizontal row, that the user can move through by sliding a scroll bar, or via touching a touchscreen and flicking the covers left or right. Additionally, users may choose other types of navigation or even use third party navigation schemes that conform to Tilz APIs (application programming interfaces).
  • Alternate Navigation Forms Include: Spherez
  • [1051]
    Spherez (pronounced “spheres”) are a navigation and display tool, wherein Tilz are mapped onto a multi-faceted shape, such as soccer ball-like sphere. In embodiments, Spherez are a grouping of two dimensional Tilz that appear to have been rendered onto a three dimensional sphere. A purpose of Spherez is to enable a user to use flicking motions with their fingers on a touchscreen to find the Tilz they are looking for (somewhat akin to a user flipping an old style rolodex to find a particular 3×5 address card). Spherez is one of a plurality of unique navigation modalities. And the entire Spherez may be taken over as a notification, if the use's profile allows, or even display (as) a whole Spherez advertisement.
  • [1052]
    For spherical Spherez, the cover Tilz may be arranged on a two dimensional projection of a sphere that the user can spin around, or spin individual rows (as one moves a specific row of a Rubik's cube). When using the navigation sphere, the Tilz on the rows above and below the center or “key” Tilz may be those Tilz which have the greatest number of matching tag keywords. Or users may choose among other Grouping Criteria: such a Most Recently Used or viewed Tilz. The Tilz most frequently selected by that user may then be closest to the center/key tilz.
  • [1053]
    Spherical Spherez may either be convex or concave. If concave, it's as if the user is inside a huge sphere, and all the Tilz are situated similar to control room flat screens. For example, if one were inside a giant multi-faceted soccer ball, and each facet were a display screen—displaying a Tilz. With a concave spherez, the outer edges of the sphere curve toward the users. For example, if one were looking down on a multi-faceted soccer ball, and each facet were covered with a Tilz.
  • Sliding Block Puzzle
  • [1054]
    When viewing multiple Tilz the user can have them appear and move in ordered rows and columns similar to sliding block puzzles. In embodiments users may choose to have block grouping (in either a square or rectangle shape) of as little as 2×3 Tilz, and as many as 999×999 (or more) Tilz. Users may adjust the size of the individual slider Tilz. Other sliding block arrangements as possible, such as 3×3 sliding block puzzle navigation or 4×4 sliding block puzzle navigation.
  • Swirl or Starburst
  • [1055]
    Users may choose to have a grouping of Tilz appear and/or move in a swirl or starburst formation.
  • Highlight Bubble
  • [1056]
    When viewing items in list mode on a Tilz the highlighted item may be shown in a transparent digital bubble. A thin, wide, transparent bubble Tilz may magnify the word a user is currently on. As the user scrolls up and down, the bubble Tilz moves up and down the list, highlighting and slightly magnifying the selected item list name—similar to how water may appear to slightly magnify things.
  • Third Party Navigation Modalities
  • [1057]
    Third parties may upload to the Tilz Website navigation modalities, as per the Tilz APIs (application programming interfaces). For instance Tilz may float across the screen in a seemingly random display. Alternatively Tilz might may move as if they were dandelions blowing in the breeze or like leaves falling from trees. When a user sees a Tilz they want to select pass by, they may simply click or tap on it to both select that Tilz as well as end the navigation animation.
  • Geo-Tagged
  • [1058]
    As a user views a map mashup, they may see flags (or other indicators) showing where the user has Tilz content tagged to that location. For example, if a user saves the Tilz of various houses the user is interested in buying, those houses may appear on online maps. Also as a user moves about in the real world their mobile device may alert them to (or popup) Tilz content/messages associated with that location).
  • Bio-Tagged
  • [1059]
    Tilz are configured for compatibility with facial recognition technology, so that as the user's camera (or other device, person or thing) recognizes the person, object, sign, location or other thing, it may alert the user to related Tilz (which may contain content/information/messages/et. al.). Tilz may also identify another person not just for tagging photos and content related to that person, but for transaction authentication. Tilz may also be configured for compatibility with wearable and implantable RFID for various interaction and transaction and other purposes.
  • Shared Tilz
  • [1060]
    At the user's option, each Tilz may be set to be shared with other users, either entirely public (anyone can view it) or only for those friends/associates/other entities designated by the user. Tilz may also be shared but require login/password. Tilz set to be shared may be viewed anytime both users are connected to the Internet (or via other means), and those Tilz may temporarily or permanently be downloaded to the other user's mobile handset via a caching facility (such as Packet Cache).
  • Security
  • [1061]
    In embodiments Tilz feature a wealth of security options including time stamp, device stamp, and location stamp, for applications such as signatures, postings to restricted sites, transactions, et. al. These security stamps may be embedded in the Tilz metadata, for identification and authentication purposes and which further ensure against identity theft. If a thief gets hold of a user's credit card Tilz or passport Tilz they may try to utilize it in a city where the user is not located (or otherwise has not authorized use there). Thus an alarm may be activated, which may send automatic notifications to the use as well as Tilz provider such as the bank or U.S. government). In addition, Tilz are each assigned an unique ID number which is also its IP address (the IPv21#); and each copy thereof is automatically assigned a differing IP address. Copy prevention and other measures also may restrict sharing and viewing of the content in the Tilz. Built-in security technology may prevent copies being made in the first place—a Tilz may be set to be Read Only. And Tilz may be prevented from being transmitted via switch/router/hub/load balancer software patches.
  • [1062]
    Also it's harder for a hacker to disrupt a user's entire computer since each Tilz is separate unto itself (due to a micro OS built into various Tilz embodiments). Some malware may only crash the Tilz it invaded, as opposed to the entire digital device.
  • Developer Tools
  • [1063]
    Application development, and template development tools may be available, as well as tools for developing or porting games, and for media-sharing.
  • Tilz Function Offline
  • [1064]
    Content may be added, deleted, or edited, even while a Tilz is not connected to the Internet. Users may, for instance, scan barcodes/RFIDs and have their Tilz update on their mobile device, then have those changes synced to all dependent Tilz when next connected to the Internet or via other means (such as Bluetooth).
  • Tilz-Based Applications Work Offline
  • [1065]
    For example, in embodiments social networking Websites may display each user's profiles in separate Tilz. Myspace users may then edit their own Tilz, the Tilz of their chosen friends, as well as their most frequently used Myspace Tilz while offline, since all Tilz automatically cache such data/Tilz/profiles. The data/Tilz/profiles changed while offline may automatically sync when back online (when WiFi or other Internet or peer-to-peer connectivity is available again). This is important for users who use mobile handsets that do not have cell phone network coverage. Users may also scan barcodes/RFIDs to add content and update their profiles on any Tilz-enabled Website or widget all while offline.
  • [1066]
    To further clarify the above and other advantages and features of the present Invention, more particular descriptions of the Invention will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments thereof which are, in some cases, illustrated in the appended drawings. It is appreciated that these drawings and descriptions depict only typical embodiments of the Invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope. The Invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail via the following applications and use cases.
  • Interactions and Transactions
  • [1067]
    Once a user has created Tilz for their objects, family, friends, and anything else they wish, they can, via a plurality of means, broadcast selected profiles, which consist of Tilz, in such a manner that users may interact and transact with selected parties by profile matching the Tilz metadata information. For example, users may socially network around their shared interest Tilz, such as hobbies; and users may be paid to receive ads/offers/information/et. al. related to their product Tilz; among an essentially limitless plurality of other uses.
  • Users Create, Manage, & Monetize Profiles
  • [1068]
    Instead of third parties creating profiles of users, with Tilz users may create, and manage, and monetize their own profiles. Take, for example, a user's Movies Not Yet Seen profile, as captured in Tilz. Each time a user sees, for instance, a movie ad on TV or in the newspaper they may scan the ad via electronic IP-based barcodes (such as Net Dotz); which return a Tilz to the user's mobile handset. The Tilz is the profile of that movie. If the user wanted to add that movie to their queue of movies at a DVD delivery service such as Netflix, they might not be able to if the movie is not yet in Netflix's database. If not, then the user might have to take the time and effort to set a calendar reminder to add that movie to their Netflix queue six months from now—not a user friendly solution.
  • [1069]
    But with Tilz, the user simply amasses the Tilz of all movies the user wants to see, but hasn't yet, and broadcasts (CloudCasts) that profile. Thereupon entities such as Netflix may, when Netflix databases enable it to do so, add that movie to the user's Netflix movie queue. However, the CloudCast may be made available to all entities that can supply that movie to this user. And thereby does the user get paid to receive ads/offers/coupons/information/et. al. from entities that can supply a particular movie to that user (as per the user's various preference profiles (such as Web Pref).
  • [1070]
    Nearby theaters, pay-per-view providers, nearby bricks and mortar DVD sellers, the premium channel which acquired the rights to that movie, online DVD sellers, et. al. may each pay the user to view the user's movie profile (which may include the user's Movies Already Seen list and Movies Not Yet Seen list), and thereupon determine if it's worth it to pay the user again to send ads/offers/coupons/information/et. al. related to this movie to this user. Users have the option of setting the price to receive such ads/offers/coupons/information/et. al.
  • [1071]
    Tilz also enable new income streams for other parties: If users attend a movie at the Acme Movie Theater, for example, users may have the option to get the DVD Tilz (electronic copy of the movie) for an additional price (beyond the movie theater ticket price). The Tilz may be downloaded to the user's mobile device via means such as Bluetooth or WiFi (and/or other modalities) while the user watches the movie in the theater. And after a user watches a movie, it is automatically added to the user's Movies Already Seen list—a list which others might by paying the user to view. Movies Already Seen list subscribers might include movie marketing companies or market research firms or other entities.
  • Paid Search
  • [1072]
    Users may perform a novel type of search regarding any item wherein information is attracted to the user automatically. For example, if a user needs a new refrigerator, the user may add the Tilz of their old refrigerator to their ComCloud (a profile broadcast consisting of Tilz) and thereby start to automatically receive information/ads/offers/et. al. from those entities that can supply a new refrigerator that meets the user's profile (such as kitchen cabinet space requirements)—without the user having to become a mini-expert on refrigerators, without the user having to measure their refrigerator, and without the user having to take their time to perform the search. And the user may be paid to receive such information/ads/offers/et. al. by the information/ad/offer/et. al.-sending entities.
  • [1073]
    In embodiments, companies may pay the user to populate the closest-to-the-center ring (or other “key”) Tilz spaces on the Spherez, whenever a user is utilizing a Spherez for searching, organizing, or anytime.
  • Periodical Tilz
  • [1074]
    Magazines and newspapers may need to consider changes to reflect the information overload their readers suffer from. Many readers don't have the time to read the full text of every article or document, whether offline or on. So how can a magazine or newspaper change in appearance and function utilizing Tilz? Each element of (for instance) an article, whether offline or online, has its own Tilz. A shift to the much smaller screen of mobile devices informs the need for magazines and newspapers (and documents and other things) to update their layouts. The layout has been the same for hundreds of years, and is increasingly out of sync with users with far too little time to consume lengthy versions of every article.
  • Extend Periodicals Reach
  • [1075]
    Tilz extend the reach of magazines/newspapers into the real world. After formatting their online and/or offline editions into Tilz, their articles can extend into the real world experiences of their readers. For example, if there was an article about bond measures for the user's city, then when the user is driving around town, the Tilz alerts the user (or intermediary facility) when, for instance, the user is driving on a road that may soon be torn up to facilitate the new sewer system that is the subject of an upcoming bond vote.
  • [1076]
    Other examples. When a subscriber to a periodical in Tilz format, drives/walks past a place that was the subject of a story, that story Tilz, and related Tilz, may pop up on the user's mobile handset. And periodicals may get paid if the user transacts upon those field Tilz, even if the user is not a subscriber. Field Tilz are Tilz that pop-up on a user's mobile device (or any other digital device of choice) in the real world—out in the “field.” Driving past a cupcake shop, featured in the food section of the paper—a Tilz may pop up (if the user wishes). And thusly alerted the user may stop in to purchase a cupcake (for which the newspaper might receive a commission). And the magazine or newspaper may get paid, even if the Tilz about the cupcake shop is shared with users who are not subscribers (but received the Tilz article about the cupcake shop), if they purchase a cupcake. Driving past a company's headquarters building a recent story (in the user's subscribed periodical) about their CEO may pop up, depending upon a user's profile settings. When the user is driving past the marshlands that need saving, the newspaper may get paid a commission if the user donates to the Save the Marshlands fund. If the user is into fashion, fashion-related Tilz, stories from that magazine's or newspaper's fashion section may pop-up (in fashion-related situations) on their mobile device as users move about in the real world. If the user is into politics, political issues pop up.
  • [1077]
    If there's an article in the Travel section about bed & breakfast inns in the area, the Tilz may alert the user when the user happens to be driving near one. The metadata in the Tilz, such as the address of the inns may be matched against the user's location profile (which is itself a Tilz), and if the calculated DIFF distance is less than a user selected amount, such as 2 miles, then an alert may be triggered via the user's mobile handset.
  • [1078]
    In embodiments, the newspaper may be paid a commission by the inn, for use-traffic driven thereto. Such commissions (and the plurality of other such cases) may improve the economics for periodicals. And their traditional revenue sources, such as advertising, may also be revolutionized. For example, subscribers to the local paper, may receive the ads as electronic Tilz in addition to receiving the printed paper at home. The Tilz for all the ads needn't clamor for the user's attention, but exist quietly in the user's ad profile, until the user happens to be driving past, say, a store that is having a sale (and an ad appeared for same in the newspaper). If that store's sale items match the profile for items the user is seeking or interested in, an alert may be issued to the user (or other intermediary facility).
  • Sample Article Stack
  • [1079]
    An article Tilz stack may include the Headline Tilz, one or more document/article/content Summary Tilz, and the Author's Tilz.
  • [1080]
    Signature Tilz may also serve as a user's official digital signature. Additionally, the reader could click on the Author Tilz to discover more content about that author, including a photo, avatar, or image of the author, author backgrounder, list of other articles by that Author, or other things. Also, the reader may click on the appropriate Tilz icon to be taken to that Author's blog/Website/et. al.
  • [1081]
    If the user wants to read more of the article they may tap/click the Headline Tilz, and up pops the Summary Tile(s). The Summary Tilz may have a single paragraph summary, or another single sentence with the main point of the article. The Summary Tilz may contain the document's main tags/keywords. For example, the tags might be: WiFi and cellphone. The tags may appear in a dark blue color (ala Web links) to indicate they are tag links.
  • [1082]
    And one user's Summary Tilz may be different from another user's Summary Tilz. Content creators may provide different types of summaries to meet the needs of different types of profiles. Some people like lists of information, others may prefer a summary by a critic or blogger they trust. Still others may prefer an animated Tilz. Some may want their article summaries presented on their TV, others may prefer their mobile device. These headline, summary and body Tilz may be how all documents appear, not just magazines and newspapers.
  • [1083]
    Such a format may be utilized for documents inside a corporation. What manager has time to read 20+ page documents from each of her reports? Instead, managers may read all the summaries and only if necessary the full body of the document. Everyone is time-limited—and documents may change format to reflect this fact. And different users may adopt different styles, shapes, colors, animations, sounds, etc. for their Summary Tilz to express their individuality, instead of all documents being nearly identical.
  • [1084]
    If the Summary Tilz does not provide enough information, the user may click on it to view the Full Content Tilz. Content may be displayed with or without images/videos. Also the user may click or tap the Tilz Sizer to provide a larger/smaller viewing window.
  • [1085]
    Tapping the Author Tilz may take the reader to other articles by that author.
  • [1086]
    Set to Hidden (in embodiments) by default, are the action icons in the corners of the Tilz. On Tilz that features tags, there may be a Tags icon (in some embodiments appearing like dog tags), so that a reader wanting more information on any of the tags may either click on the dark blue tag word itself, or click on the dog tags icon in the upper left hand corner and up pops an individual Tilz with more information (more Tilz) on each of those tag words.
  • [1087]
    When the tag Tilz pop up, there may be a visual indication of the other Tilz the user has access to that relate to that tag word, with the user seeing a stack of Tilz receding into the distance (in some embodiments), with the Tilz slightly offset like a partially fanned deck of cards. Those Tilz may then Slide Show to the front for a few seconds at a time, then show the next Tilz, or wait for the user to click on them for more information.
  • [1088]
    Or the user may click on the Internet Access icon in the upper right hand corner of some embodiments of Tilz to pull content with those tag words from a search on the Web.
  • [1089]
    Tilz may include both Text and Images/Video. Users may add comments for other readers of an article tile to view via popup Tilz.
  • [1090]
    And users may live connect via Tilz to others reading that same article at that same time: instant message (IM), (video) chat, etc.; even leave glops (digital content, such as text or audio or video, that readers may add to other objects) for other readers to view. And information in articles may be live information. Whenever a user pulls up an article, the user, via Tilz, may choose the live version of all information in the article (a sports article that referenced a team's then win/loss record, may have that fact updated to the win/loss record of the team at the time/date the user is viewing the article).
  • [1091]
    Printed versions of articles may have much the same functionality as the digital versions with Tilz. Printed pages may look the same as digital pages, with each Tilz (corresponding to each discrete element of an article) having an IP-based digital barcode (Net Dotz) that readers can scan to receive the Tilz they seek. On a digital page compatible with user preference profiles (Web Pref) the user may turn off glops, and choose for instance to never show article detail until the user clicks on a Summary Tilz, or opts, for example, to receive updates to the article next time the user is magazine browsing on their TV (via means such as Tube Widge).
  • [1092]
    Furthermore, the glops that readers leave may be location-based, so when a user opens the same article in New York City, they might see different glops than when they are in Los Angeles. Also the user may set the article to view the social network profile (Galaxz) Tilz for people mentioned in the article, or grab other articles that mention those same people. And glops may change according to a reader's profiles (including profiles which track a user's location). Users may also set glops, as per preference profile selections, to, for instance, view all the comments from, and interact with, others reading this same Tilz at this very moment, or limit comments to those with certain affinity profiles.
  • [1093]
    And with Tilz, as users start to consume more magazine and newspaper article content on devices such as TV's (via means such as Tube Widge), Tilz gives content creators and content consumers untold flexibility to maximize each screen size and capability. TV's powered by Mobi Homi DVR's are location-aware, and thus introduce location-based elements and functionality to Tilz articles viewed thereon.
  • Magazine Tilz
  • [1094]
    Magazines enter the digital age, via delivery as Tilz customized for each user, bringing periodicals new revenue streams.
  • Newspaper Tilz
  • [1095]
    Tilz enable newspapers to be easily read on any number of different digital devices, including mobile handsets. Newspaper sections, individual articles, and every individual item, are each assigned their own Tilz, and users click/tap on the appropriate Tilz to read/download that content.
  • Real Estate Listings Tilz
  • [1096]
    Real Estate Listings Tilz may include, for example, a downloadable Tilz for each individual house for sale. Such Tilz may contain items such as the history (such as past sale prices), past photos (from past listings), as well as any price changes that may occur. And such Tilz may notify interested parties when that property is available for sale or lease. Tilz may change how houses are sold. Users may express interest via the property Tilz of that house, whether it's for sale or not, thus when the owners get ready to sell, they may have already amassed a list of interested buyers, and therefore may not need a real estate agent to market and sell their home, saving them a great deal of money—paperwork and transaction may be able to be effected by a few hours of a real estate attorney's time. The user's property Tilz may also become an income center for the homeowner (commissions may be paid for the gate maker Tilz, or gardener Tilz, etc. when other users request such information or Tilz (from the home's profile broadcast (CloudCast)).
  • Reflection
  • [1097]
    As per the user's preference settings, Tilz may reflect the look and feel of the user's social networking home page/site/Tilz/et. al.—and even change when that page/site/Tilz/et. al. changes; the margins, for instance, of any document created by that user may contain status updates, and indicators of items, such as new photos, etc. Thus each time a user looks at that document, the cover Tilz may have changed—or just the background image have changed but the document content hasn't changed. Tilz (backgrounds, covers, margins, or other elements) may, for example, change as the seasons change, or look differently as the hours of the day progress, or as the Tilz creator's mood changes (for example, blue=sad, red=angry, yellow=happy, etc.—even though the document content doesn't change. A Tilz background image may also be just a small thumbnail of the first page of the document—or picture—screenshot of the video. A Tilz background image may be utilized to show a picture or live video feed of the person who is calling (or otherwise attempting to communicate with) the user—video caller ID—so that ghosted background image starts to talk to the user from, say, the document: “Hey George, you there? Pick up.”
  • Application Tilz
  • [1098]
    Developers may build software applications or widgets utilizing Tilz. The Tilz may be the functional application/widget. Application/widget Tilz may be represented in a plurality of styles, including by animated, licensed characters, such as popular cartoon characters (as opposed to the conventional art application/widget icons which are generally mundane static images conveying the application's/widget's use). Entities such as Disney or Electronic Arts may charge users a monthly fee to license their characters to execute a plurality of functions including perform alerts, reminders, and provide help instructions, and act as animated representations of various applications/widgets.
  • Movie Tilz
  • [1099]
    Movies may be distributed and viewed via Tilz. For the movie cover Tilz, users may set preferences as to how much information about the movie is revealed. Movie Tilz covers may contain live trailers or just text, or just a photo for those who don't want any spoiler information. Some users may prefer a minimal amount of information about a movie when they view the cover Tilz—at least until after they have seen the movie. So that the plot is not ruined for them, some users may prefer only the movie title, cast list, and year of release. Others may prefer a full plot description even before they have seen the movie.
  • DVD Tilz
  • [1100]
    Conventional art DVDs are static content—the information is burned onto the disc and stays constant. DVDs delivered electronically via Tilz to a user's mobile handset or digital device of choice are fully interactive and live. For instance, the DVD Tilz present not only the movie and the extra features/content, but enable the movie producers to continue to add content over time (even after the DVD Tilz release). DVD Tilz may later add (perhaps, for an additional fee) a director's cut, or let any fans of the movie make and present their cuts, or only the winner voted best Fan Cut version of the film, or let film school students produce a cut or re-shoot, or re-edit some scenes, among other possibilities. DVD Tilz present a plurality of possibilities. Users may engage in live chat with others who happen to be watching the same movie at the same time. And unlike a physical DVD, which if it gets broken, is ruined, if a DVD Tilz is accidentally deleted (though there are many protections against this) or lost, the user may (in embodiments) download it again. Additionally, as airplanes start to allow WiFi (or other) connections, airplanes may pre-load movies that a user owns to the seat back entertainment unit in the hours prior to departure, so that each person has their library of movies and music with the user at all times (or allows USB, or other modalities, such as uploading/streaming from the user's mobile handset to the seat back entertainment unit).
  • [1101]
    Video rental stores or like vendors may use DVD Tilz to rent movies to customers in a plurality of different ways. Users may come into the video rental store and either physically plug their mobile handset into a USB (or other) port to download the movie. Or users users may browse the shelves and scan the barcode of the movie they desire on the DVD box of the movie on the shelf, and the movie may start downloading (once the transaction to rent the movie is completed) to the use's DVR, (which may be back at their house, or might be the mobile device (Mobi) in their hand), while the user grabs some candy and soda, and pays at the checkout. Users may also browse the video rental store Website or ParaSite, and click the movie they want and it may start downloading (after payment has been received). The point is users may start associating that video rental company with a company that is thinking about the best ways to add value to the movie watching experience. Using Tilz a video rental company such as Blockbuster may also be an e-distribution hub for digital movie delivery to movie theaters. Using Tilz Blockbuster may be the video content delivery vehicle for corporations that need a live event or canned video materials distributed and made available to employees.
  • Gift Card Tilz
  • [1102]
    Replacing the need to physically manufacture and carry around a plurality of gift cards, stores may issue Tilz-based gift cards that users may store in their mobile handset. In embodiments Tilz gift card features include, but are not limited to:
  • [1103]
    Displays the balance left on the card;
  • [1104]
    Reminds user prior to annual fees being deducted;
  • [1105]
    Reminds user prior to the gift card credit expiring;
  • [1106]
    Compatible with a plurality of mobile handset payment technologies.
  • Business Card Tilz
  • [1107]
    Tilz may replace business cards. Tilz business cards may be a portal through which additional information is made available about that person or company. And may become the ongoing connection point for the business relationship among the individuals exchanging business cards. The business card Tilz may provide a history of all interactions, as well as means for future interaction. Also, Tilz business cards may be any shape, size, color, or be animated, say, when presented on a TV. Or be animated in such as way as to capture rituals such as those in Japan around the exchanging of business cards. Images may appear of thumbs and forefingers gripping the upper corners of the card, and having the cards “bow” to each other, and then be placed directly in the lower center of the device screen parallel to the bottom edge.
  • Artwork Tilz
  • [1108]
    Every piece of art a user owns may have its own Tilz. Users may socialize with others who share an appreciation for that particular artist or style. Gallery owners may, if the user's Tilz profile permits, send invites to gallery showings. Museums may make art aficionados aware of related events, via such artwork Tilz.
  • Coupon Tilz
  • [1109]
    Multimedia, user-solicited, location-aware, profile-based Tilz coupons. Digital coupons replace paper coupons with barcodes. Users may acquire Tilz as per the profile of items they utilize in their life, and redeem them automatically, via, say their mobile device.
  • Phonebook Listings Tilz
  • [1110]
    Phonebook listings as transactable Tilz. Listings of solutions for problems, not just names of individuals and businesses. Such listing Tilz may include ratings by people who utilized that vendor Tilz before.
  • Wine Label Tilz
  • [1111]
    Collect the labels for each wine a user tried; keep tasting notes therein. User may get paid by companies wanting to sell that user wine or wine related items or other things, to receive ads/offers/information/et. al.
  • Status Tilz
  • [1112]
    For example, 14 weeks pregnant; or Out of Office—backpacking in the Sierras; or Single, and then include the profile of the type of person they're looking for; et. al.
  • City Overview Playlist
  • [1113]
    Chamber of Commerce delivers this Tilz deck, to users inquiring about that city. The Tilz in the deck the user receives depends upon the profile of the person requesting the information: are they a business thinking about opening an office/plant in that city?; or are they an individual looking to move there?; or other.
  • Digital Wallet
  • [1114]
    Instead of having to carry around all the various cards (and other things) in a user's wallet, the user could instead carry digital versions of their driver's license, credit cards, frequent flyer club cards, etc. in Tilz format on their mobile handset.
  • Tilz ID Cards
  • [1115]
    Some cities, states, and countries are considering issuing resident ID cards. These cards may be electronic and Tilz-based. A Tilz ID card may display a person's picture in addition to salient personal information. Tilz ID cards may include IP-based barcodes (such as Net Dotz). Tilz passports may replace physical passports.
  • Web Presence Tilz
  • [1116]
    A user's image or photo may be used for their Web presence Tilz. Other users may click on that Tilz (to flip it over) to see that person's online profile or get more information about that person—and the information the recipient sees, may depend upon the recipient's profile. Tilz enable users to create social/business networking profiles, without the need for a particular Website on which to post a user's profile. And Tilz function all over the Web, as well as on a user's PC and mobile handset.
  • Ad Tilz
  • [1117]
    Customized advertisements delivered as Tilz.
  • Intramedia Ads, Intrastitial Ads, Targeted Ads
  • [1118]
    One or more embodiments of Tilz support embedded ads within a show, movie, video, photo, document or any digital content. And since Tilz each have their own unique ID number (IP address) they may, as per the user's preference profile, delivers ads targeted at or requested by individual Tilz viewers. Intramedia ads may float on top of part of the existing program in such a way they cannot be defeated or avoided by the user. Interstitial ads are between shows (or during commercial breaks) but, again, cannot be defeated or avoided by the user. Targeted ads that reflect those items a user's (ad) profile specifies the user wants to receive and not receive. Targeted ads, if the use allows, may also be based upon keywords associated with that user from many sources, including the user's lists of items they own or want to purchase.
  • Bottom Line Ads
  • [1119]
    Ad strips across the bottom of Tilz, that show a short 2-5 second (or time amount) ad from time to time. Such bottom line ads may slide out from the bottom of the Tilz, or appear in the Tilz frame, or even encroach on the bottom portion of the Tilz field itself.
  • Tilzvertisements
  • [1120]
    Some Tilz content may be view only after, say, a 20 second long advertisement on the Tilz (a Tilzvertisement). Ad serving companies may collect a transaction fee, if the Tilz is utilized to make a transaction based upon the ad.
  • Branded Tilz
  • [1121]
    Some companies may wish to extend their brand by offering users Tilz (templates) branded with the company logo for free or paid use. One or more embodiments of Tilz may have the look, feel and colors of various sports teams, universities, organizations, companies and/or commercial products (or other things or entities). For example, users may pay an extra fee to have Tilz that look, say, like the colors/logo of their favorite band or like colorful M&M's—or possibly even be paid, to utilize, say, a particular company's logo-branded Tilz.
  • Sponsored Tilz
  • [1122]
    For example: Ford Trucks whose slogan is Built Ford Tough, may pay to put Built Ford Tough across the bottom of certain Tilz groups—say those Tilz with tags, relating to the topics, “Trucks,” or “4wd,” or other. Similarly a Website may sponsor a Tilz that enables users to discuss various/top-rated topics. Rolex may sponsor the public Tilz of a top tennis pro.
  • Licensed Tilz
  • [1123]
    Users may pay for the license/right to use/display Tilz that look like, say, Cheetos or a NASCAR race car.
  • Tilz Templates
  • [1124]
    Individuals and companies may create templates for various types of documents, contracts, greeting cards, etc. that others can purchase. These may include company/university mascots moving around the document Tilz frame or even (licensed) famous people's voices introducing the Tilz (e.g. Michael Douglas' voice introducing the prospectus). Tilz templates may revenue share income from that Tilz, or charge a one-time fee.
  • Avatars
  • [1125]
    Instead of boring conventional art digital versions of an 8.5″×11″ piece of paper, a document, for instance, may be represented by an animated walking talking avatar robot. Such avatars may be sponsored by third parties whose brand name may appear thereon. Such a complex Tilz template may otherwise cost the user some money to acquire the rights to, however, the sponsor may cover the template fees in exchange for its brand identity prominently featured on the avatar. In embodiments the user's face may be mapped onto the avatar, as per profile/preference customization. The avatar is the document.
  • TV Everywhere
  • [1126]
    TV everywhere (via Tilz). A user's, say, cable TV subscription package gives users Tilz (each show in its own Tilz) rights to every show, on every channel in the user's TV package. TV service provider advantage: many of the Tilz may be served to users directly from content providers' (e.g. CBS, NBC) servers. User advantage: Tilz available anytime, anywhere on any digital device. Users may access their show Tilz (say, via the Internet) while at a friend's house, or hotel, etc. And shows may scale in size and/or quality as per the user's profile and the display device's profile.
  • Hidden Information
  • [1127]
    The profile of the person clicking on the Tilz may enable special access to extra content. Tilz creators may use the cover Tilz image (or other parts of a Tilz) for more than just its standard intent. Clicking on the cover Tilz usually takes the reader to the more detailed information, however the Tilz creator may want to enable special access, say, for their friends, by having them click on some inconspicuous feature on the cover Tilz image, which then directs them to extra content Tilz. And since Tilz may have profile-based links, different users may be directed to different content, though they clicked on the same area/link.
  • Tilz Program Electronic Devices
  • [1128]
    Some electronic devices are difficult to program. It may be easier and intuitive to create a mobile device widget to control and program electronic devices (FIG. 41). For instance, the user may program a ceiling fan's light to go on and off at certain intervals, (say, when the user is on vacation), via a mobile device widget for the ceiling fan, using fingertip swipes featuring an image of a clock and a calendar, rather than the conventional art non-intuitive light/fan/light fan switch programming progression, used by some ceiling fan lights, which may require the user to refer to the product manual (if they can find it).
  • Tilz Replace Email
  • [1129]
    Tilz replace email (Tilz email=tmail). With Tilz, email is no longer a separate entity, whose data must be cut and pasted into other places (such as documents—since some email formats are not seamlessly compatible with conventional art document formats). The data in the email Tilz update in realtime or when all other dependent Tilz update asynchronously. If a user changes their address, the user's address Tilz on, say, their magazine subscription Website is auto-synced. As per the conventional art, if a user moves (and thus changes address) the burden is on the to remember all the locations (such as various Websites, login accounts, mailing lists, etc.) where the user's address is stored, then update them one by one. With Tilz, each of those locations stores the user's address via a user's Address Tilz—which is automatically updated when an information changes. In embodiments email via Tilz means users may write, speak or video chat (among other modalities) back and forth synchronously or asynchronously.
  • [1130]
    Users receive less spam via email Tilz. Via a plurality of user-selectable ways of being notified, the user may be alerted that a particular Tilz is available for download or sync. If the users don't recognize the sender, they don't download the Tilz, thus spam can't get in unless users download it themselves. If a user receives a conventional art email about a product, there is no simple way to update that user's profile vis a vis that product, without the user having to re-type such information manually. With Tilz, a user receives the Tilz for that product, which a sorting facility (Sorto), can easily sort, as is, into any number of profiles directly, and whereupon the user, if they wish, may start being paid to receive ads, for instance, for where they may purchase said product near them. And users may be paid for flicking said Tilz (equivalent perhaps to the outmoded conventional art email “forwarding”) to one of their friends who may be interested that product.
  • [1131]
    In embodiments a user creates any sort of digital content, and selects the email icon in the corner of the Tilz. There the user types the name of the intended recipient, who receives a link to the location of the Tilz, and the Tilz is “downloaded” by the same recipient at a time of their choosing, and onto a device of their choosing. Further changes to that Tilz, are synced rather than “sent” as per conventional art email. Tilz are synced anytime the recipient is connected to the Internet or via peer-to-peer if proximate to another user who has a newer version of that Tilz or by other means. Thus, any size tmail can be sent, since, in embodiments it is being up/downloaded. Tilz recipients essentially subscribe to the content of the sender's Tilz.
  • [1132]
    In embodiments a user wishing to send an email, may simply create the document (or photo, video, spreadsheet, blog entry, etc.) they wish to send in a Tilz. Each Tilz is assigned an IP address and IP-based barcode. The sender then clicks on the “email” icon in the corner of the Tilz, which opens a Send To address field. The sender may then type in the name or IP address of the recipient, or the IP address of the recipient's mobile handset, and the Tilz is then “uploaded” to that IP address. Tilz are uploaded or downloaded, rather than “sent” as email is today. The recipient may view the Tilz, as well as provide a response. Once the response Tilz is complete the recipient can upload the response Tilz to the original sender. Sender and receiver subscribe to that Tilz' content, and thus receive updates thereto.
  • [1133]
    The fact that Tilz are uploaded/downloaded, rather than “sent” like email, solves the problem of large email attachments (which via conventional email are not allowed to be delivered)—because files (or Tilz) of any size can be up- or down-loaded.
  • [1134]
    Additionally, the Tilz may be “sent” (among other ways) by instant messaging (IM'ing) or texting the recipient's mobile handset (or other device) with the IP barcode/address for the Tilz, which the recipient can click on or scan to download the Tilz content whenever convenient. Tilz “email” content may also be viewed on a Website (or other means).
  • [1135]
    Users may store their contacts' IP addresses in their address book or contacts manager (along with their contacts' name, email addresses, phone numbers, etc.) so they don't have to memorize IP address numbers.
  • [1136]
    Also, users don't need to have an email service provider (such as Yahoo or Hotmail). Instead of an email being sent to the receiver's email service provider, where the message is stored on the email service provider's servers, the sender can upload the Tilz directly to the recipient's mobile handset when both users' mobile handsets happen to be simultaneously connected to the Internet. And if the recipient is offline at the time the sender is trying to send the Tilz, the Tilz is cached in the sender's Communication Cache Tilz for delivery when the recipient's mobile handset is online again (the system may keep pinging the IP address of the recipient's mobile handset (or other device), until a response is returned).
  • Tilz Widgets
  • [1137]
    Tilz may also be utilized as widgets (Webified mini software applications) that may be downloaded to, among other places, a user's mobile handset. For example:
  • [1138]
    A document Tilz may contain a small open source document editor in the Tilz itself.
  • [1139]
    A spreadsheet Tilz may contain a small open source spreadsheet editor in the Tilz itself.
  • [1140]
    A video Tilz may contain a small open source video editor in the Tilz itself.
  • [1141]
    A presentation Tilz may contain a small slide presentation program to view and edit the presentation.
  • [1142]
    And as an alternative having the Tilz contain the mini version of the open source licensed software, the user may have a copy of the open source software on their digital device, and each Tilz may, in embodiments, utilize that software code.
  • [1143]
    In embodiments the Tilz Website publishes a list of, and makes available for user download, compatible open-source programs.
  • Tilz on TV
  • [1144]
    Tilz work on TV. Tilz may be displayed on TVs via a user's digital video recorder (DVR) or set top box or other device that interfaces with a television set.
  • [1145]
    Users may, for instance, leave several small semi-transparent Tilz up on the screen when they are watching TV—to, among other choices, monitor stocks, interact with friends via (chat, play games, send/receive email, et. al.).
  • Channel Tilz
  • [1146]
    Media company Tilz (Channel Tilz) may provide an alternative to television. Each media company (as well as individuals and other entities) may have its own Channel Tilz that users may carry with them on their mobile handsets (or view via the digital device of their choice). In embodiments Channel Tilz are similar to a mini TV channel for that media company—however the content may be cached, not just live. For instance, CNBC may have its own Channel Tilz, that it refreshes with content about stocks, various stories of the day—in neat 3 minute clips. Media company Channel Tilz don't require the bandwidth of actual live TV to the mobile handset, yet enable users to stay in touch with and “watch” CNBC almost all day, via quick check-ins. Users may decide how much mobile handset storage space to allot to each media company Tilz.
  • [1147]
    For example, Disney may have a Channel Tilz that runs video trailers of upcoming movies, or of their ABC TV shows (enough to get the gist of the entire episode, but in a 5 minute per 30 minutes of show clip). And as bandwidth and storage increase (particularly to mobile devices), media company Channel Tilz may be utilized as a new means to replace actual full TV channels.
  • [1148]
    Media companies may decide to run ads or not on their Channel Tilz—for instance Disney may run ads about DisneyWorld or even ads for products not related to Disney at all. Media company Tilz may also be used to deliver targeted ads to specific viewers since Tilz are compatible with reverse electronic cookies (My Cookiez) which the viewer may use to transmit a profile of the types of ads they would like to see.
  • [1149]
    A user may keep their favorite media Tilz current all the time on their mobile device: ESPN, ABC, CNBC, CNN, National Geographic, HGTV, etc. Media company Channel Tilz may also be viewed by users on their regular TV sets.
  • Tilz as Record “Singles”
  • [1150]
    In embodiments, as per the old vinyl record 45's with an A and B sides, music owners/publishers may choose to release their music on Tilz as (one or) two-song “singles.” Because it's a Tilz, such singles may be supplemented with extras such as videos of the band performing those songs. But unlike CD/DVD content, the Tilz may be released in numerous different audio formats which users may pay extra for. And each time the Tilz is played it can be optimized (as to audio/video quality, for instance) for that device. Since Tilz may be viewed on a number of different devices, from mobile handsets to large screen TVs, users may purchase the highest quality DVD video Tilz of the “single,” and their Tilz license may allow them to download different, and the most appropriate, formats to different devices (such as the MP3 format to their non-video playing mobile handset).
  • Living Tilz
  • [1151]
    Song artists (or other entities) may choose to release “living” Tilz for a given song. So for instance, a band may release their song called “Forever You” in a living Tilz. Living Tilz may cost more than a regular Tilz (or charge a monthly subscription fee) but, for example, the user may receive a new version of “Forever You” each time the band plays and records it. If the band were on a concert tour, the user may receive a live performance version of “Forever You” automatically sent to their digital device of choice, at no extra cost (or alternatively by monthly subscription fee), each time the band chose to record a live performance. And if the band appeared at a radio station to promote their tour stop, and played, say, an acoustic version of the song at the radio station (that was broadcast over the air), that version may be sent to the user's Living Tilz automatically, at no additional cost (or other fee arrangement).
  • [1152]
    Essentially Tilz enable artists to break free from the conventional art analog confines (that have been copied to date in the digital world) and let their imaginations run free as to how they'd like to present their wares to their customers.
  • [1153]
    Living Tilz may also include pictures users send to their friends/relatives. For instance, if a user sent their friends/relatives a Tilz of the user's son, Pete, in a Living Tilz, then each time the user takes a new picture of Pete (that the user designates as Public) it may be sent (or become viewable) to all holders of, or subscribers to, the Pete Living Tilz. With Living Tilz they may always have the latest photo of the user, or user's child or pet or what the user is serving for dinner, etc. So if a user were to subscribe to “Eiffel Tower” photos, that are Living Tilz, they may receive, in embodiments, any photo Tilz tagged “Eiffel Tower” that any user has uploaded or is “hosting” publicly from their camera or mobile device. So, once every 30 seconds (or other user-defined time interval), the user may receive/see a new Eiffel Tower image in their Living Tilz.
  • Collectibles
  • [1154]
    Every coin, stamp, bottle of wine, and every other collectible item may have its own Tilz with its own unique IP address. In embodiments users take (or download or otherwise obtain) pictures of the front and back of the item to display the item in the Tilz. Also, manufacturers may start assigning unique IP address numbers to all, say bottles of wine, so that when a user purchases that bottle, the bottle may come with its own Tilz with (profile) information about that specific bottle (not just about the general category to which the wine belongs or such wine made by a particular winery). For example a Beringer 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve bottle ID #12345678. When the user purchases the bottle (likely with their mobile handset) the purchase transaction may send the user's mobile handset (or other device) the Tilz for that bottle of wine. The user may then add that Tilz to their Wine Cellar list. Beringer may then send tasting notes to all purchasers of (and thus Tilz subscribers to) the wine. Beringer may suggest Drink Now, or perhaps, lay down for an additional 2-4 years. And users with the Tilz for that same wine may socialize (from/within the Tilz), and compare, say, drinking timing or tasting notes with each other (if they choose) without having to “go” to a conventional art Website to do so.
  • [1155]
    Users and/or third parties may create custom Tilz templates in which to present Tilz for collectibles (or any other Tilz). Designer Tilz of items may become the must-have accessory for certain items, and may someday be even more collectible than the (Tilz of the) item itself.
  • Patent Examiners
  • [1156]
    If inventors submit patent applications in/via Tilz, then inventors/patent examiners may add tags to the Tilz for each invention. This may automatically form a searchable relational database for the examiner to pull up related patents (submitted in Tilz format) with similar keyword (or other type of) tags.
  • Hospital Tilz
  • [1157]
    Hospital Tilz may be displayed on any digital screen (PC monitor, TV, mobile handset). The hospital Tilz may act as the information board for each patient; and as a better alternative to the frequently used whiteboard.
  • [1158]
    Hospital Tilz may also be made available to any subscribers the hospital and/or patient wishes, such as family members (especially those out of town), insurance company, doctors, nurses, et. al. Hospital Tilz may be customized with many items such as a rotating set of photos, both for friends and family (with in-hospital photos), and from the patient's friends and family (with at-home photos of the dog chewing the patient's favorite slippers).
  • Badges
  • [1159]
    Users may collect Tilz/badges from any location, monument, store, et. al. they physically visit (or otherwise acquire remotely via non-proximate modalities). In embodiments, these badges may not only be collected, but also may be utilized as information dissemination and advertising vehicles. They may also provide on-table interaction. As a user enjoys a drink at a bar, for example, their drink “electronic coasters” (Tilz) may reflect the drink they're having, or even be suggesting their next drink. For instance, Coke if they're having a soda, Bud if they're having a beer, Kendall-Jackson wines if they're having vino. Electronic coasters may also be utilized by third parties, for example to post missing persons “milk carton” profiles, or local ads, say for the ice cream parlor down the block for dessert, or the bookstore across the street. Users may get paid to receive such ads/offers/information/et. al. Which may reduce the cost of their drinks by, say, X cents per 10 minutes (an electronic currency (iDough) credit toward their bill). Users' drink information may be automatically added to their Drinks Profile—which may increase that profile's value.
  • [1160]
    Users' badge Tilz data may be sent not only to that restaurant so waiters may offer customers “the usual”—but also directly to the drink manufacturer. Tilz may help the drink manufacturer build a more accurate (realtime) profile of their users, as well as be able to market directly to their customers via badge Tilz, which enables interactions such as buying their frequent users a drink, or offering discounts from time to time at various locations. Or inviting customers to tour the actual brewery or winery. Waiters may also use the Tilz drink badges to keep track of the drinks (or food) the user has ordered. So Tilz badges may become a user's bill and receipt for that establishment (far more interesting and useful than a conventional art printed receipt). Badges may also be utilized for real world scavenger hunts, and other games, contests and activities); Tilz badges may also be utilized as a way to keep in direct contact with customers/friends/colleagues/et. al.
  • Reverse Badges
  • [1161]
    In addition to users receiving a badge when checking in at a location, users can give a badge—their personal badge. Their profile Tilz. With Badge Tilz users have information about that restaurant (or other entity) and that restaurant (or other entity) has information about that user. Such badge Tilz may be the basis, the vehicle, for (all) future interaction and transaction and communication between that user and that restaurant/person/other entity. The reverse badge may simply be the obverse of the badge the user receives from that establishment (ala a baseball card; with one side all about the establishment and the other all about that user). And is the gateway to that person's (ComCloud) profile broadcast and are the (Galaxz) social/business/object network Tilz for each customer of that establishment or company.
  • Product Registration
  • [1162]
    Every object may have a Tilz. Manufacturers may push Tilz of their product to customers who purchase it so that, among other motivations, users may register that Tilz (or the registration may take place automatically), and the manufacturer may pay the user for that ongoing product usage data. Such Tilz may be pushed to the user's mobile (or other) device at the time the item is purchased. As the user scans their checkout receipt, it may push a Tilz for each item they purchased, and, if the user wishes, registers that item according to that users profile. Why for instance, would a user want a Tilz for every item in their house? Many reasons. The Tilz may warn a user when their food item is about to go past its Use By date, or when their aspirin are about to expire. And manufacturers and retailers may use this opportunity to pay the user to receive a coupon for or ad about that product, or market related or competitive items.
  • Revenue Sharing
  • [1163]
    As Tilz generate income, say from others wishing to pay to view the content of a given Tilz, or from ads on or relating to that Tilz, such revenue is shared with the user. Revenue may also be shared with the device maker (such as Motorola), network carrier (such as Verizon Wireless), et. al. In embodiments Tilz (transaction) revenue may be split with application makers, for Tilz saved natively from that application. For example, third parties, such as Microsoft, may participate in the revenue generated by a Tilz, that was created by saving a Word document as a Tilz MDF document (.MDF rather than or in addition to .doc). As per the conventional art, Microsoft doesn't participate in the revenue a .doc document might generate. Tilz may also be customized for users. Hello Kitty animated frames for Japanese teenage girls. Kendall-Jackson winery sponsored framez (an animated edge around the Tilz) for wine-related documents (or for any topic document sent to or owned by a wine aficionado). Animated template item lists. Revenue may be shared for premium Tilz fees. The application maker (such as Microsoft) may share in the revenue from the sale of premium Tilz features or Tilz templates, for Tilz created via that application. Tilz are a flexible object space that enable characters from video games to live on mobile devices, PCs, TVs in novel ways. In such a manner, third party's brands may start to interact with their users in a way never before achieved as per conventional art advertising methods.
  • [1164]
    Conventional art social networks make money off the profiles of users. It's time the users share in the value created. To with: a user creates their public Tilz (their public profile). Social networks then pay the user to park that Tilz on that particular social network site. If not, then users may choose alternate social nets where the user shares in the economic value being made off that user's profile. A Tilz is also a profile. A profile of that person, place, thing, object, file, folder, Website, song, photo, etc. Conventional profiles live at profile parking sites such as Myspace and Ryze. And social networks make money off the profiles of users, yet don't share the resultant revenue with their users. It's time that users share in the billions of dollars of value being created off their profiles.
  • [1165]
    Users are motivated to create Tilz for objects. Take the case of antique hunters rummage through old barns. As they come across items, they may create Tilz for those items (e.g. take a picture and add some descriptive text). Those Tilz are then living on their mobile handsets. Those Tilz become part of their information broadcast (CloudCast) that may eventually entice someone who sees those Tilz to go the barn owner and purchase one of those items. If so, that antique hunter may receive a commission on that sale. Tilz creators may share in revenues from the sale of Tilz templates (e.g. to more artfully display the information) applied to their Tilz, or from transactions that their Tilz engender. If people have to work, why not do something they love? This applies to anyone who has a passion for something, and now with Tilz, may have fun pursuing what they love. And such behavior promotes adoption of Tilz.
  • Transactable Transactions
  • [1166]
    Wrapping transactions in Tilz engenders a whole new class of affiliated transactions. For example, via a Tilz hotel check-in transaction, AAA members may be automatically rewarded their extra points credit when they book rooms at participating hotels, whereas today they'd have to know that a particular hotel had such an offer extant. Users benefit by getting offers to receive discounts on a particular transaction, from entities such as competing hotels, or digital payment systems (which might offer different points/credits bonuses) or payment processors, and ensure that all benefits the user is entitled to are, in fact, realized for the user. Tilz also enables various payment methods/managers to bid on a given transaction. Tilz enables a new way for credit card companies to mitigate risk, and offer a much more custom interaction with their customers. And as a person's credit score increases, a credit card company may bid to offer that transaction with, say a 12% interest rate, rather than the 15% rate their card is currently set at. Conversely, if a person's credit score is declining they may offer rates for transactions that are higher than the current 15%. That is to say, rates fluctuate with user risk, not just with, for example, the Fed Funds rate. Vis, AMEX and others may offer credit facilities not just credit cards. If a user's FICO score drops, the credit card company may no longer be obligated to offer that person credit. Or may choose to offer credit on a transaction by transaction basis, with differing risk-based interest charges for each transaction. Also Tilz may be a good way of acquiring a new customer. Just bid for their credit card or debit card business on a per transaction basis.
  • [1167]
    The plurality of Tilz applications and uses are practically limitless.
  • [1168]
    The present Invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from its spirit or essential characteristics. The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the Invention is, therefore, indicated by the appended claims in addition to all foregoing descriptions. All changes which come within the meaning and range of equivalency of the claims and foregoing descriptions are to be embraced within their scope.
  • The Wireless Location-Establishing Device Provides a Platform for a Mobile Handset Data-Acquisition and -Processing Device
  • [1169]
    A system, method, service and platform for creating, managing, and monetizing profiles of the people and things in a person's life, via digital devices that make accomplishing one's daily activities more efficient and enjoyable are disclosed. The present Invention (“Mobi”) enables users to create and broadcast profiles of their wants and needs, and by profile matching the wants and needs of other people and entities, substantially reduce the friction inherent in today's outdated and outmoded forms of interaction and transaction; thereby revolutionizing everything from search to marketing to advertising to payments to social networking, et. al.
  • [1170]
    Today's leading cellphones (such as Motorola StarTAC and BlackBerry) and personal digital assistants (PDAs such as Palm Pilot), do not have a ready ability to engage the real world objects with which a person routinely interacts.
  • [1171]
    One can make a phone call on a cellphone. And one can perform a few basic tasks on a PDA. But the true power of a converged computing communication device has not been realized by today's various offerings.
  • [1172]
    Today's cellphones have only a few built-in functions, such as a calendar and address book. Users are generally unable to add additional functionality to their phones via onboard software applications, for a number of reasons including: limited memory, limited processing power, and limited desire by wireless carriers/handset makers for users to exercise control over the onboard software/hardware. Aside from downloading a ringtone or two, users are generally unable to modify or enhance the functionality of their phones.
  • [1173]
    The present Invention (hereafter “Mobi”), is conceived as a response to the above-described deficiencies of the conventional art. Mobi combines the power and versatility of a personal computer (PC), with the task-execution abilities of a PDA, and the communication and interaction capabilities of a cellphone, to create a device that dramatically alters the computing landscape (and users' lives).
  • [1174]
    Mobi enables users to create and carry with the user profiles of everything important to them. Furthermore, Mobi enables users to broadcast from their digital devices (or other means) their wants and needs, thus facilitating the many interactions and transactions a user wants/needs to accomplish, both online and offline.
  • [1175]
    Mobi's revolutionary mobile handsets (and other embodiments) are equipped with features that connect the offline world with the online world. In embodiments Mobis feature among other items, barcode/RFID scanners. The devices do not require monthly service contracts from traditional cell phone providers, yet enable everything from IP (Internet protocol) phone service to social networking, via wireless means such as WiFi and Bluetooth. In embodiments Mobis the size of a PDA, may replace a user's DVR (digital video recorder); replace cordless home phones; and act as the wireless touchpad input and cursor control device for other digital devices, such as TVs.
  • [1176]
    And Mobi's unique facilities enable new forms of advertising and merchandising never before available.
  • [1177]
    Over a billion cell phones are sold each year. However many users chafe at the monthly fees charged by cellular service providers. Furthermore, most wireless carriers have been slow to open their cellphones and their networks to third party software applications and hardware devices.
  • [1178]
    And while most cellphones today do a decent job of making phone calls and listening to music, many Website or PC software applications are not available on mobile handsets.
  • [1179]
    A number of technological events are expected to drive demand for new and more capable mobile handset devices. And also for less expensive mobile handsets that don't necessarily require network service from a wireless carrier. New wireless airwaves may become available for mobile handsets. New spectrum may drive demand for a new class of devices.
  • [1180]
    WiFi Internet access may be utilized as a means of both making phone calls as well as using Internet applications, without having to utilize (and pay for) a wireless carrier's network. WiFi is becoming more pervasive with WiFi networks being added to numerous cities, airports, coffee shops, etc. Many people now have WiFi networks in their home and in their office at work. And WiFi may even be added to transportation vehicles such as cars and airplanes.
  • [1181]
    Hence new mobile handsets that use WiFi in preference (or in addition) to cellular networks are emerging. By tapping into WiFi hotspots, which are increasingly ubiquitous, users may check email, stocks and weather, as well as utilize services or information based, for instance, upon the user's location. Such mobile devices may become the next computing platform.
  • [1182]
    Thus there is a market need, particularly in emerging markets countries, for a wireless carrier optional mobile handset with IP (Internet protocol) services capability.
  • [1183]
    The present Invention is described in one or more embodiments in the following description with references to the Figures. While the Invention is described in terms of the primary modes for achieving the Invention's objectives, it may be appreciated by those skilled in the art that it is intended to cover alternatives, modifications, and equivalents as may be included within the spirit and scope of the Invention as defined by the appended claims and their equivalents as supported by the disclosures and drawings herein.
  • [1184]
    A primary purpose of the system, method, service, device and platform described herein is to facilitate improved interactions and transactions between people, companies, objects (and other things). The disclosed system, method, service, device and platform enable users to create, manage and monetize the profiles related to anything in their life, and thereby more easily, efficiently, and profitably accomplish their daily tasks.
  • [1185]
    Although various embodiments of the Invention extend to any mobile data acquisition and -processing devices consistent with the principles described herein, these embodiments are referred to collectively as “Mobi(s).”
  • [1186]
    According to these embodiments of the Invention, Mobis enable users to exert control over the flood of information bombarding them, sifting for relevancy, and delivering such results when, where, and how a user wishes. In addition, various embodiments of Mobis are designed to be functional replacements for plurality of (digital) devices, such as cordless home phones, digital video recorders (DVRs), TV set top boxes, videogaming rigs, et. al.
  • [1187]
    Mobis' novel facilities 5150, described in detail below, are the foundation of the first “cellphone” (and other devices) that don't need a wireless carrier—and thus Mobis don't require a user to pay monthly fees to same. This also makes Mobis especially suitable for the second- and third-world countries.
  • [1188]
    In addition to facilitating Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone calling on a wireless carrier-optional handset, Mobi mobile handsets (and other digital devices) incorporate a number of new and existing technologies in unique manners to enable a brand new class of IP applications/services, initially aimed at the consumer market.
  • [1189]
    Various Mobi embodiments have several unique features for a consumer mobile handset such as a laser-based barcode scanner and/or RFID reader. Mobis may also be able to display all documents and files in a new mobile document format (Tilz Facility 30) that makes viewing and using applications on a mobile handset much easier.
  • [1190]
    Barcode scanning. Barcode scanning has traditionally been reserved for commercial retail and inventory applications using purpose-built barcode scanners. Various Mobi embodiments incorporate various types of barcode scanners in a mobile handset so as to enable an entire new universe of social and consumer IP service applications that have not existed before. For example, users may walk into a restaurant and sit down at a table which has a menu on it. Each menu item may have a barcode next to it, and users may scan the menu item to order and pay for that item, entirely with the barcode scanner equipped mobile handset.
  • [1191]
    Furthermore Mobis are capable of reading a novel type of digital IP-based barcode (hereafter Net Dotz Facility 27). Unlike traditional static barcodes which contain the item information in the barcode itself, digital IP-based barcodes contain the IP address where information is located for that item. Thus, digital IP-based barcodes may require a barcode reader that is also Internet capable—which the Mobi is.
  • [1192]
    For instance, a user reading the Sunday newspaper sees an article in the Travel section about Ireland, complete with pictures, text, and a list of suggested hotels and restaurants, and sites to visit. Instead of getting out scissors, cutting out that article and physically filing it in their drawer, if the article were IP barcode (Net Dotz Facility 27) labeled, the user may scan the article with their mobile handset, and the mobile handset may retrieve the article and deliver it to the user's mobile handset (or other device) in a convenient mobile document format (Tilz Facility 30) (or at the user's option, just bookmark that IP address). Additionally, if the author of the article later changed some aspect of the article, let's say added two additional hotel suggestions, the user may receive those updates automatically since the barcode encodes the IP address of the information, and any updates of the content at that IP address may be automatically synced with the user's local copies (Tilz) of the article.
  • [1193]
    RFID. RFID (radio frequency identification) tags have traditionally been used for commercial inventory purposes. RFID has failed to live up to its full expectations primarily because of two factors: cost and reliability. On the cost side, the goal to reduce the cost of an RFID tag to less than one penny per tag, has eluded the industry for years. As for reliability, RFID tags have lost favor for some inventory applications because of a less-than-acceptable read rate. For example, manufactured goods with RFID tags are often moved on high-speed conveyor belts in warehouses. In some cases RFID readers have been unable to offer better than a 95% successful read rate for RFID tagged items as they pass the RFID reader. A 5% miss-rate is unacceptable for many inventory applications.
  • [1194]
    Mobi mobile handsets featuring RFID readers are intended to be used (among other uses) for consumer and social applications that have not existed before. For example, users with RFID capable mobile handsets may walk into their local Starbucks coffee shop for a cup of coffee, and Starbucks may send coupons for their products for sale (t-shirts, CDs, coffee mugs, etc.) via RFID tags on the shelf caps to the user's mobile handsets. Such non-mission-critical social/consumer applications/services are a new use of RFID technology that Mobi mobile handsets enable.
  • [1195]
    MobiMail is a mobile handset email service. Unlike current services, MobiMail also works on mobile handsets which do not subscribe to a wireless carrier. Instead these mobile handsets rely on WiFi and other forms of wireless data services that happen to be geographically proximate to the mobile handset device to send and receive email (in addition to other communication and messaging modalities).
  • [1196]
    In embodiments Mobi function as a cordless-phone handset for the home/office, however Mobis' various facilities engender other uses as well:
  • [1197]
    Barcode scanner for in the home/office (for instance to track the bottles in a user's wine cellar);
  • [1198]
    Create and manage a user's commerce communications cloud (a wireless network the user utilizes to broadcast profiles, such as for instance, their garage sale items, from their own home/office network or digital device);
  • [1199]
    Function as an universal TV and stereo remote control;
  • [1200]
    Serve as a functional replacement for the DVR (digital video recorder) for the user's TV;
  • [1201]
    Serve as the touchscreen/touchpad and keyboard input device for TVs, enabling users to utilize Internet and computer software applications/services on their television set, while sitting on the couch/bed using the touchscreen (or other modality) on their mobile handset to control the cursor and input information. Thus users may do their social networking while watching TV—utilizing the TV display screen;
  • [1202]
    Enable users to “mark” TV shows/movies or commercials or other things that a user wants to bookmark; and, among a plurality of other uses;
  • [1203]
    Enable users to make phone calls from their home, even if they do not have a landline phone service, using IP-based phone services, including such a facility native to Mobi.
  • [1204]
    In embodiments, Mobis are mobile handsets (though other embodiments depart dramatically from this archetype) one or more embodiments of which contain a barcode scanner, USB port, Ethernet plug-in port, RFID reader, WiFi, and/or other frequencies tuner. One or more Mobi embodiments have satellite GPS, but one or more Mobi embodiments can also use cell phone towers and WiFi hotspots to locate themselves. Mobis may operate independently of the need for a cellular service provider. A Mobi software widget that enables users to control the hardware and software may be resident on Mobis.
  • [1205]
    The Invention also includes a Website where users can manage various aspects of their Mobi devices and services, as well as up/download software to the device. The Mobi Website also features a digital content store, where users can rent or purchase music, TV shows, movies (subject to rights acquisition) and other digital content for use on their Mobi.
  • [1206]
    Some Mobi embodiments and facilities function without need for wireless carrier service. However, other Mobi embodiments are intended for wireless carrier network functionality, and for this reason some Mobi embodiments contain a CDMA/GSM tuner or a software defined radio version of same instead.
  • [1207]
    Each mobi device has its own, unique, changeable and/or static IP address.
  • IP Phone Service
  • [1208]
    One or more Mobi embodiments include a Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) phone service facility, enabling users to make/receive IP-based phone calls without need for a cellular service provider.
  • Widgets
  • [1209]
    In embodiments Mobis include one or more of the following software widgets (Webified mini applications) (not a comprehensive or restrictive widget list):
  • [0000]
    1) Security widget—manages the user's device and connection security. Among other functions this security widget) alerts users as to the level of encryption offered by a particular WiFi connection. This security widget (Secure Widge) also enables virtual private network (VPN) connections, which many companies use when workers remotely connect to company servers.
    2) Payment transaction manager widget.
    3) Digital content management widget that enables users to edit digital content that resides in mobile document format.
  • Software Developers Kit
  • [1210]
    Mobi supplies a software development kit that enables independent programmers to build Mobi applications.
  • Corporate Features
  • [1211]
    In embodiments Mobis ship with email support for some corporate software programs, including, but not limited to, Microsoft Exchange Server, Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise. In addition, Mobis interface to and sync with common corporate contact lists and calendars, so that, for example, a new appointment entered into a calendar at the office will show up on a user's Mobi.
  • [1212]
    Mobis provide corporate information technology (IT) departments control over the devices, allowing them, for example, to remotely wipe all data from stolen or lost Mobis to protect sensitive information. Remote management also includes a feature to hunt down and switch off errant Mobis.
  • [1213]
    Mobis enable businesses to distribute Mobi-based software applications directly to employees.
  • [1214]
    Mobis offer a basic type of virtualization software. Mobis may also, at a corporate administrator's option, support a mandatory second password to log in. Mobis are designed to access virtual private networks via a Web browser. Data on Mobis is optionally wrapped in encryption software via a mobile digital-content format (Tilz Facility 30).
  • Open Device Specification
  • [1215]
    By following a largely open specification that Mobi may make publicly available on its Website, third parties may incorporate, subject to license terms, select Mobi features and facilities into other existing products such as thumb drives, MP3 players, cellphones, set-top boxes for TVs, et. al.
  • Standard Features
  • [1216]
    Various Mobi embodiments have differing standard features which, depending upon configuration and embodiment include: barcode scanner; WiFi (802.11); Bluetooth; USB; rechargeable battery; charging dock (headphone jack may be the charging dock connection point for some embodiments); and/or battery indicator.
  • Optional Features
  • [1217]
    Various Mobi embodiments have differing optional features which, depending upon configuration and embodiment include: RFID reader; HD radio tuner; GPS (global positioning satellite) location determining ability; memory card slot; wireless networking card (fits in the memory card slot in some embodiments); USB cable; USB power charging adapter; Docking Station Pro—may act as a Home Server or video game player: 1 GB (or more) memory, 250 GB (or more) storage, high-end dedicated graphics processor, multi-core CPU, server software; digital media/Internet radio player; touchscreen fingerprint scanner facility to establish identity for online interactions and transactions; and/or translucent case, with fiber optic/LED lighting with pearlescent glow emanating from inside. Of course, it will be appreciated that other standard and optional features may be added as circumstances warrant.
  • [1218]
    The Invention employs and incorporates many unique technologies, such as the ability to create and broadcast, via a plurality of means, user profiles directly from the device, and thereby effect novel interactions and transactions, as per the detailed descriptions below.
  • [1219]
    Having generally described operation of the systems and methods of the present Invention, various embodiments will be described with respect to FIGS. 50-19.
  • [1220]
    Referring to the accompanying drawings wherein the same reference numerals refer to the same or similar elements:
  • [1221]
    FIG. 50 shows an exemplifying architecture of an embodiment of a mobile data acquisition and -processing system, method, service, device and platform in accordance with the Invention which is designated generally as system 5000.
  • [1222]
    System 5000, hereafter the “Mobi Platform,” represents an embodiment of the system, method, service, device and platform by which a user creates profiles of things, which in turn inform the ads, offers, information and other data the user receives regarding same. In embodiments the Mobi Platform consists of client and server software 5014, but which more generally consists of a plurality of computer applications, devices, components, facilities, and systems, as well as a plurality of data facilities, including various data sources and data acquisition facilities. The foregoing may be centrally located or geographically dispersed, may be locally and/or remotely interconnected, and may consist of distinct components or be integrated into combined systems. In the illustrated embodiment, the Mobi Platform 5000 architecture facilitates the processing of user-initiated queries entered into a query entry system functioning in conjunction, for example, with a barcode reading facility 5003 on the user's 5001 mobile device 5002. The mobile device may process the results of this query locally via client software, or transmit the results of this query to a remote server software system 5014 for further processing and/or routing to data sources and/or processing facilities, such as one or more servers, such as HTTP servers or other servers that are suitable for handling data that are transmitted over computer networks.
  • [1223]
    In embodiments, a plurality of profile acquisition facilities are available including barcode scanning facility 5003, RFID interrogator facility 5004, network or Internet-based facilities 5005, peer-to-peer facilities 5006, among other profile acquisition modalities 5007. Profiles consist of tiles (or other units) of data about things, hereafter “tiles” or its homonym “Tilz.” The user 5001 acquires a Tilz about something, such as a product (it is understood that the Invention applies not just to products, but also to people, animate and inanimate objects, ideas, et. al.), by one or more of the aforementioned facilities/modalities. Via a vis scanning the barcode 5003 of the product or interrogating the RFID 5004 tag of a product, a Tilz (which is the profile of that product) may be returned directly, or indirectly via means wherein the query returns the Internet Protocol (IP) address where more information, the Tilz, may be found for that product. (Other Invention embodiments not involving barcode/RFID facilities are conceived wherein the same or similar data gathering and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites or other means.) Users may also acquire Tilz via network or inter-network (Internet) 5005 means, such as pointing a browser to the Webpage wherefrom Tilz for that product may be downloaded or otherwise acquired. Additionally, users may also acquire Tilz for the product via peer-to-peer 5006 means, such as via Bluetooth from, for example, another user who already has the desired Tilz for that product, say on their mobile device. Other peer-to-peer embodiments such as, but not limited to, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions, facilitated by any number of communication modalities, may be utilized to acquire a Tilz about a particular product. Other modalities 5007 are contemplated, consistent with the principles of the Invention. And further, other embodiments of Tilz are conceived wherein in addition to being the profile for a product, the Tilz may also act as a wrapper for the product, such as in the case of a song or movie or document, and thereby confer upon the product/thing enhanced functionality. And further still, other embodiments not involving Tilz are conceived wherein the same or similar data tracking and presentation is accomplished by more conventional vehicles such as Websites (or other means).
  • [1224]
    Once a user has acquired 5002 one or more Tilz about an object, the resultant Tilz, which is the profile of that object, is presented to the Invention's client and/or server software 5014, for sorting into profiles 5008, which consist of logical groups and/or subgroups of one or more Tilz. FIG. 50 illustrates several sample user profiles including the user's movie profile 5009, wine profile 5010, travel profile 5011, groceries profile 5012, and other profiles 5013.
  • [1225]
    A user's profiles 5008, are then presented to the Mobi Platform client/server software 5014 which in embodiments may include profile matching algorithm facilities 5015, user profile database/storage facilities 5016, ad profile creation facilities 5017, ad profile management facilities 5018, ad serving/provisioning facilities 5019, ad storage facilities 5020, transaction facilities 5021, payment facilities 5022, security facilities 5023, internal rules facilities 5024, external rules facilities 5025, analytics facilities 5026 and/or other facilities 5026. One or more of the foregoing facilities then processes the incoming/active profile, by a variety of means not limited to extracting keywords and metadata from the constituent Tilz containing and/or constituting that object's profile.
  • [1226]
    For each profile 5008 submitted to the Mobi Platform, the user makes selections (chooses to accept automatic defaults or system 5000 generated recommendations) regarding what types of data the user would like to receive, or not receive, vis a vis that profile. Granularity of data control extends to the individual Tilz within a profile. Additional choices regarding data reception control include, but are not limited to how, when and where users receive information about the product. (Incoming information about a product is hereinafter assumed to be received via data tiles or Tilz.) The types of data a user may wish to receive regarding a product include but are not limited to ads, offers, information, or other data/content.
  • [1227]
    For example, a user who just bought 50 items at a grocery store may scan the barcode at the bottom of the user's receipt, and thereby automatically receive a Tilz for each and every item they purchased. These grocery item Tilz are then sorted into the user's groceries profile 5012. If the user only eats Wheaties cereal, the user may elect to block, REJECT, any incoming cereal ads (which might annoy the user, who only purchases and eats Wheaties). However, a user who is a buyer of Minute Maid orange juice, and is open to receiving orange juice ads may therefore set their Mobi Platform preference profile regarding orange juice ads to ACCEPT.
  • [1228]
    Users may fine tune, set the granularity of, or otherwise adjust Accept/Reject criteria via the internal rules facility 5024 or other facilities. Internal rules 5024 (such as those set by the user) and external rules 5025 (such as those set by wireless carriers, and other third parties) may be applied to user's profiles and affect various aspects of ad delivery and presentation. Examples of rules that may be set manually (by the user) or automatically (by Mobi's algorithm facilities 5015) include: 1) How, when, where to receive ads (for instance certain types of ads should be delivered to a user's TV from 7-9 PM on weeknights, other types of ads are to be delivered via car radio while the user is driving home from work; and still other ads are to be delivered to the user's handset at any time); and 2) Ad reminders: 36 months from now start tire ads. Mobi may log the date the user purchased/installed new tires, and, if the user wishes, blocks tire ads until the user is likely to be in the market again for tires. Conventional targeted advertising fails miserably in this regard: if a user purchases new tires today, then that user doesn't need to see tire ads for, say, 3 years or 36,000 miles. And though the user isn't in the market for tires, that user may in fact use the word “tires” in the meantime, say in an email. Yet a conventional “targeted” advertising approach would likely serve that user tire-related ads (wasting the user's time, and the advertiser's money) during those 3 years.
  • [1229]
    Once one or more profiles has been processed, the Mobi Platform 5014 makes one or more profiles available to select entities 5028 via a user profile broadcast 5027, hereafter “ComCloud” aka “commerce communications cloud.” A user's ComCloud may be broadcast by a plurality of modalities including Bluetooth, WiFi, wireless carrier network, Internet, infrared (IrDA), and/or other available means. For example, a user walking downtown along the sidewalk FIG. 53, may choose to have Mobi broadcast the user's ComCloud 5303 (such a broadcast is referred to herein as a “CloudCast”) via Bluetooth in such a manner that Mobi acts as a shield against information overload; a number of businesses 5307, 5308, 5309 along the user's path, may wish to send ads 5304, 5305, 5306 via WiFi to the user's mobile handset, however the Mobi Platform 5310 may block the undesired ads, and accept just those the user wishes.
  • [1230]
    In embodiments, the Mobi Platform matches the profiles of various entities 5028, against the user's profiles 5016, seeking matches for content (information/ads/et. al.) desired by the user against content available by the entity. Such entities may include, manufacturing entities 5029 (such as the manufacturer of Minute Maid orange juice), retail entities 5030 (such as grocery stores), advertising/marketing entities 5031 (such as ad buying agencies or market research firms), other users 5032 (who may, for example, share a similar profile), and/or other entities 5033 (who may, for example, share a similar profile).
  • [1231]
    In other embodiments, where entity profiles are not made directly available to the Mobi Platform, the Mobi Platform may search other sources such as existing online profiles, and perform profile matching against same.
  • [1232]
    Once one or more matches has been established, the Mobi Platform, as per the user's profile preferences, makes the user's profile available to the selected entity, for free or for a fee 5022 (which the user receives a portion of). Based upon the user's profile, the entity then decides whether or not to pay 5022 to send the user ads/offers/information/et. al. as per the user's preference profile. If the payment amount is non-zero, the user receives a portion of said monies.
  • [1233]
    Those skilled in the art may appreciate that entities already pay to get their ads/information/et. al. to users; they pay middlemen entities, which make guesses as to which users might be interested in that entity's ads. Middlemen currently peddle profiles based upon guesses (often obtained by spying on users' online activities), and those guess-based profiles are sufficiently valuable that ad-sending entities pay middlemen to acquire such guess-based profiles. With the Mobi Platform, guesses about what users want/need are replaced by facts, from users, who create, manage and monetize their own profiles—automatically via the Mobi Platform. With the Mobi Platform, ad-sending entities no longer need to guess which customers and potential customers to reach and how to reach them. And since customers and potential customers instead manifest their profiles directly, via the Mobi Platform, to such entities, middlemen may be disintermediated. Thus, in a logical value-for-value transaction, users may be paid for the inherent value of their profiles, which because they are based-upon actual products/services a user actually utilizes, are more accurate, and thus more valuable, than the guess-based profiles from middlemen common to the conventional art.
  • [1234]
    For example, the above orange juice user might (be paid to) receive an ad from Minute Maid, which thereby hopes to convince the user to stay loyal to Minute Maid. However, if the user sets their Mobi preferences 5018 to accept ads/offers/information/et. al. 5019 from competing entities, the user may be paid 5022 to receive an ad from a Minute Maid competitor, such as Florida's Best orange juice, which thereupon presents information in their ad endeavoring to cause the user to switch brands.
  • [1235]
    FIG. 51 is a simplified schematic for a Mobi device embodiment. Various embodiments differ in configuration, but generally, vis a vis hardware architecture, Mobi includes one or more processors and memories, as well as local and external interfaces. Each respective combination is arranged such that the processor is in communication with the memory via the local interface. The local interface may be, for example but not limited to, one or more buses or other wired or wireless connections, as is known in the art. The local interface may have additional elements, such as controllers, buffers (caches), drivers, repeaters, and receivers, to enable communications. Further the local interface may include address, control, power and/or data connections to enable appropriate communications among the aforementioned components.
  • [1236]
    The respective processors are hardware devices for executing software, particularly that stored in the associated memory devices. The processors may be any custom made or commercially available processor configured to execute software instructions.
  • [1237]
    The respective memories may include any one or a combination of volatile memory elements (e.g. random-access memory (RAM), such as dynamic random-access memory (DRAM), static random-access memory (SRAM), synchronous dynamic random-access memory (SDRAM), etc.) and nonvolatile memory elements (e.g. read-only memory (ROM), hard drive, etc.). Moreover, the respective memories may incorporate electronic, magnetic, optical, and/or other types of storage media. Each memory may have a distributed architecture, where various components are situated remote from one another, but still accessible via the associated processor.
  • [1238]
    One or more programs, each of which comprises an ordered listing of executable instructions for implementing logical functions may be store in respective memories. In addition each of the memories may include an operating system that essentially controls the execution of the illustrated functions and perhaps additional functions such as scheduling, input-output control, file and data management, memory management, communication control and related services.
  • [1239]
    When implemented as source programs, the programs are translated via a compiler, assembler, interpreter or the like, to operate properly in connection with the operating system. The external interfaces perform signal conditioning and data format conversions to enable communication through one or both of wired or wireless networks. Wired interfaces may be compatible with Ethernet standards and TCP/IP. Wireless interfaces may be compatible with one or more of the Infrared Data Association (IrDA) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802 family of wireless data communications protocols. It should be understood that other data-network interfaces compatible with other communication standards and protocols may also be utilized.
  • [1240]
    Additional interfaces and mechanisms may be coupled to Mobi, including the various embodiments thereof, to configure the devices. These mechanisms may include browsers and/or other software (not shown, but well known in the art) configured to the expose configuration parameters, data tables and other information to external devices. Modules may include those configured for barcode scanning and/or RFID interrogation. Moreover, the local interface may be configured with one or more human-machine interfaces such as a keyboard, a display, a printer, etc. Such human-machine interfaces may include touch sensitive displays and/or the combination of a graphical-user interface and a controllable pointing device such as a trackball, trackpad or other thing to enable an operator to configure or otherwise modify Mobi, and the various embodiments thereof.
  • [1241]
    In an alternative embodiment, where one or more of instructions operable within Mobi are implemented in hardware, the instructions may be implemented with any or a combination of the following technologies, which are each well known in the art: a discrete logic circuit(s) having logic gates for implementing logic functions upon data signals, an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) having appropriate combinational logic gates, a programmable gate array(s) (PGA), a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), et. al.
  • [1242]
    Mobis' unique functionality and capabilities are enabled by a host of innovative facilities:
  • Facility 1 Ads, Offers, Information Facility
  • [1243]
    5101
  • [1244]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited ads (hereafter “Ad Widge”) is provided. Ad Widge enables advertisers to better target ad recipients. Instead of users being bombarded with random ads, users, in embodiments, scan the barcodes/RFID of the items they use everyday to build a profile of items they could really use ads for. This profile indicates not only those items the user would like ads for, but also how, when and where. If a user scans a tennis racquet while at the sports store, the user may choose (to be paid) to receive tennis related or tennis racquet ads/offers/information. Ad Widge enables a number of innovative advertising modalities including: local advertising, location-based advertising, timely advertising, contextual ads, blended ads, interest category ads, behavioral ads models, affinity ad models, intramedia/intrastitial ads, self-aggregating group ads, realtime competitive ads, and more.
  • [1245]
    The purpose of Ad Widge is to reduce wasted advertising and marketing dollars. Consumers don't appreciate unwanted advertising (junk mail, irrelevant TV and radio commercials, etc.) And advertisers don't want to waste corporate resources sending ads to people who don't want them. The vast majority of conventional are advertising is unsolicited and irrelevant to the recipient. And conventional art “targeted advertising” is evermore intrusive. The current Web advertising model has many flaws, and one of those flaws is just how many entities there are between the Website and the user. Ad placement. Websites hire outside companies to place ads on their sites and choose the ads that will make the most money. Ad buyers. Ad placement companies contact ad networks (that buy the ads) and technology companies that help advertisers bid for them. Ad targeting companies. The ad buyers reach out to other companies to track or measure their ads or for access to ad-targeting data.
  • [1246]
    All these companies can potentially collect data about users by installing cookies on a computer without the Website knowing. Thus some Websites are upset that others are profiting by selling data about the site's users for ad-targeting purposes. And of course, the users, as per the conventional art, are getting paid nothing, despite the fact that it is the users' profile that all the others in this value chain are making money off of Accordingly it's desirable for users to take control of, and profit from, their own profiles. And with Mobi, and its unique facilities, they do just that.
  • [1247]
    With Ad Widge, Websites interact directly with the user's ComCloud (Facility 23). Thereby companies can see whether a user wants an ad from that company without the scrum of middlemen making expensive guesses about a user's preferences. Instead, the user tells the company directly. Ad Widge's technology enables users to receive just those ads they want, and users get paid to do so.
  • [1248]
    Ad Widge delivers customized, profile-based ads. User profiles indicate not only those items the user would like to receive ads for, but also how, when and where the user would like to receive the information. Ad Widge is simple to use for product and service providers, as well. In embodiments, they just post all forms and variations of their advertising, and Ad Widge pulls the appropriate Tilz to each user. So for instance, Ad Widge can populate the ads the user sees when watching TV. Furthermore, if a users just purchased tires, then that user doesn't need to see tire ads for 50,000 miles or 5 years. Ad Widge consults the user's purchase profiles to intelligently deliver ads, whereas most conventional art ad targeting would just keep sending users tire ads every time, for instance, the user types the word “tires” in a search engine or email.
  • [1249]
    How, when and where a user might want to receive an ad could include: a text message on the user's mobile device, or a 3 minute ad on the user's TV between 6 PM and 8 PM, or a brochure mailed to the user's home. Ad Widge ads are delivered via Tilz (Facility 30), which are transactable objects, and therefore enables users to purchase directly from the ads, even offline ads. For offline ads, users scan the Net Dotz interne protocol IP barcodes (Facility 27), which, in embodiments, results in a Tilz being downloaded to the user's mobile device. The Tilz is a transactable object which enables the user to make purchases therefrom. The users Ad Widge profile includes user-selectable options, such as the ability for users to choose to allow ads from competing products. For example, if a user utilizes Tide detergent. The user has the Tide Tilz in their Ad Widge profile. If they allow competing products, such as in this case Cheer detergent, then Cheer detergent is allowed to pay the user to send ads. Competitors pay the user for the right to entice them to switch products.
  • [1250]
    Local advertising. As a user walks past a yogurt shop, the yogurt shop can entice the user with an offer if the user's profile is open to receiving such offers. Location-based advertising. Advertising that is limited, say, to within a few miles of a restaurant. The 6 PM service is not yet full, thus the restaurant will want to send out ads in a radius whereby users could get there in time for the 6 PM seating. Ad Widge's location-based advertising also determines if a user is traveling to another city and businesses in that city can pay the user to accept ads prior to (or upon) the user's arrival in that city. Timely advertising. TKTS ticket booth makes tickets available via mobile device starting 30 minutes before a show (TKTS discount booths offer tickets to Broadway and Off-Broadway musicals and play, at up to 50% off). For those with the TKTS widget, that widget can query the user's Ad Widge profile to detect interest in receiving certain promotions. And the user's Ad Widge profile can be informed by the user's calendar. Are they free this evening? Because a user's Ad Widge profile is on their mobile handset (Mobi), it can interact with the widgets in the background. Or even send Ad Widge profile elements (Tilz) to the TKTS main central server, to solicit discount tickets. Contextual ads. While watching sports, receive sports-related ads, but not for mortgage refinancing. Blended ads. Users into live music might allow an ad such as: Digital Arts College of San Francisco presents Expression Session featuring Silver Sun Pickups (band). Interest categories. Movie buffs could allow all movie trailers, or just for horror films, or just starring Halle Berry. Behavioral ad models. A user's Ad widge profile can allow ads based upon the behavior of others with similar profiles, who solicited certain ads. An example profile such as (attends sporting events, and wine tastings, and art galleries, married, car lover, age 25-40, etc.). Affinity ad models. A user's Ad Widge profile allows ads based upon the interests of others in the user's affinity group (women, men, college students, singles, soccer team, etc.). For example, other women (with similar profiles) wanted ads for these cosmetics or clothes, so this user might also. Intramedia or interstitial ads. Ads embedded within another show, movie, document (Tilz) or ads between segments of a show or between successive Tilz. Self-aggregating groups. Before all advertisers switch to one-to-one marketing, most will continue to want to market to larger groups of users. Users can choose to create or join groups of people with similar profiles. Ad Widge facilitates entente cordiale—the friendly agreement among such users to work together to maximize ad profile monetization. Ad Widge aggregates these groups and makes them available to advertisers using no-personally identifiable information about the users in the group. Users can join, or elect to allow themselves to be automatically added to various groups as they are created. Users get paid for the resultant ads. Users can also choose to be the curator or host of a group. They might try to create a very large group; or they might want to be very picky about who they let in to the groups to increase the attractiveness to advertisers (and thereby increase the payment per user). Third parties can also choose to curate or host various groups of profiles.
  • [1251]
    When users receive ads on their mobile device they can be viewed using several different information display and navigation facilities such as Spherez (multi-faceted spheres onto which Tilz are mapped). And if the user choses, when they receive an ad for Tide detergent, they can allow competitors to send an ad for a similar product. These competing ads appear clustered closely to the original Tide ad Tilz on the Spherez. Users can then click on the Tilz of the ad they wish to view and it will be delivered to the device of their choice: mobile device, TV computer, car radio, etc. Users get paid to receive competing ads. This is also why the Tilz construct is so important—its an object for advertisers to target. If a user who is in the market for tires, has been doing research on tires (various search Tilz are now on her Imminent Purchase Spherez), then she might get paid $5 or more by competing tire companies who can see the relevant data about this user as it pertains to her car (how many tires the user needs at this time, what size, what make/model/year of car, any modifications to the vehicle, etc.). Further, the user will then start to get paid to receive solicitations from local tire shops to sell or install the desired tires (say Bridgestone). And once the user has made an actual appointment as represented by an appointment Tilz that user might receive $10 or possibly $25 from competing tire companies to switch her upcoming order to their brand. It's the holy grail of advertising—a user who is literally in the act of making a purchase. How much a user continues to get paid depends upon that user's conversion rations. Conversion ratios are how often a user follows through on their purchase. Conversion ratios also matter via a vis the amount advertisers will pay that user.
  • [1252]
    Users can build an Ad Widge profile, by a plurality of means including scanning the barcode from their store receipts, to have those items (Tilz) added (if they so desire) to their Ad Widge profile. Ad Widge is also IP-RFID (Facility 33) compatible. Ad Widge's profile enables users to receive just those ads they want. And users get paid to receive each ad. The average supermarket in the United States carriers 45,000 items. The user doesn't want to walk into a supermarket and receive ads from all 45,000 items. An Ad Widge profile acts as a shield against information overload. For supermarkets equipped with RFID end caps, a user's CloudCast can indicate which items a user is open to receive ads for, and just those ad Tilz will be delivered via IP-RFID (in embodiments the user's mobile device interrogates the RFID tag on various product shelves, which returns the Tilz for that item).
  • [1253]
    As more and more Web properties continue their assault on user's privacy, more and more users will want to take control of their ad profile. And the diminishing value of the tsunami of ads flashed at users each day, cries out for fewer more relevant ads. Too many ads=too little impact. Quantity vs quality.
  • [1254]
    Conventional art advertising technology is outdated. There's the “spray and pray” method, wherein companies put their ads in front of thousands or millions of people, but its an outdated and spectacularly inefficient method that hopes for maybe a 0.1% response rate. There's minimal value to the hundreds of different ad impressions per day the average person is exposed to. And what value is there to increase that number? As more online entities ramp up their advertising, users are about to be drowned in ads. But people need fewer ads, more relevant ads. And even with fewer ads or ads targeted at smaller groups of users—even solo individuals—Ad Widge enables content owners to profitably make their content available. For example, Ad Widge changes the economics of re-runs. Not just relevant ads, but ads that people actually solicit, and ads for items the users indicated they are imminently purchasing in the next few days, are valuable, orders of magnitude more valuable, as compared to the “spray and pray” cost per thousand viewers. In some cases $5 or even $25 are paid for such ads to a single user, which changes the economics of reruns and enables content owners to monetize their vast libraries in a way that makes their library worth an order of magnitude more than per the conventional art advertising modalities. Attaching an ad paying more than the 10 cent cost to stream content to a user is profit to the content provider.
  • [1255]
    There are a plurality of ad platforms, trying to monetize digital content (and other things). However, only the Ad Widge ad platform makes pays the user (the ad recipient). Conventional art so-called “targeted advertising” assumes that all users are poised in the starting blocks every single second of the day, just waiting to hear a keyword, at which point they launch themselves into a store to purchase that keyword item. A completely absurd assumption that informs targeted advertising schemes, which pepper users with ads each time the user says a keyword, or types it in an email, or speaks it in a phone call, etc. Further, it leads to ridiculous ads that users don't want to receive.
  • [1256]
    Pop-in ads. Ads that pop into, say, the TV picture during the show or are sent to the user's mobile device instead. For example, if a user is watching a show where the cast members are in a beautiful hotel, and the user wants to find out more information about that hotel. The user, via Net Dotz, can request the Tilz for that hotel with the user's mobile handset (Mobi), and thereby receive a custom Tilz for that hotel (with information customized as per the profile of each viewer who receives the hotel Tilz). Users can click through the Tilz for a map that locates the hotel; to reviews from travel enthusiasts with profiles similar to the user's; discounts/offers/promotions for the hotel; automatic reminder whenever the user's mobile device (Mobi) is within, say, 50 miles of the hotel; or when the user's travel itinerary indicates the user will be within 50 miles of the hotel. Pop-in ads appear as per the user's Ad Widge profile. So for instance, for a user who is watching a TV show, pop-in ads could contain information about things such as the couch the cast are sitting on, or the restaurant they're eating in, or the wine they just ordered, or the clothes they are wearing, etc. etc. The ads are send to the user's mobile device (Mobi) during the show and thus won't interfere with the viewing experience of others in the room. And the user gets paid to receive these ads. The user can keep the ad on their mobile device (Mobi) and it will be updated with the latest information on the hotel (room or spa pricing and specials, events held there, etc.); updated whenever the user's mobile device (Mobi) is connected to the Internet, or, and this is a unique Mobi feature, when it finds a more updated Tilz for that hotel on another person's digital device, which can then automatically update the user's Tilz via, say, Bluetooth.
  • [1257]
    Product endorsements. Athletes (or other endorsing persons) often take the highest dollar offer amongst competing endorsement deals. Product endorsements, via Ad Widge, can be more closely tied to results. For example, athletes can be paid $1 for each athlete Product Profile Tilz requested, and $4 for each product purchased (via that Tilz). If a customer returns the product, then the $4 sales commission is clawed back. For instance, a user sees a commercial on TV for Air Jordan sneakers. That user then requests the Tilz for Air Jordans. And how long that Tilz is kept on the user's mobile device (Mobi) and how many times they view that Tilz determines whether the athlete receive the full $1 product information commission, or just a fraction of that amount. Ad Widge creates a method to tie the effectiveness of a marketing campaign to actual user interest and actual user purchases.
  • [1258]
    Ad Widge provides a unique solution to the problem of unwanted advertising. Not only does Ad Widge save advertisers money, but also saves users money by paying them to receive ads. Furthermore, Ad Widge enables realtime competitive ads. Instead of spraying out ads and hoping a few people respond, advertising via Ad Widge, can be directed to users who are in the act of making a purchase (or have a profile indicating a future purchase). Advertising via Ad Widge can now be tied and tracked according to a user's expressed interests and purchase history, automatically. Users simply go about their life and Ad Widge automatically builds their profile, then helps the user monetize their profile. With Ad Widge users are the ones in charge of and being paid for the users' profiles.
  • Facility 2 Digital Content Channels Facility
  • [1259]
    5102
  • [1260]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates customizable, portable, auto-syncing, interactive digital-content channels (hereafter “Channel Tilz” is provided. Channel Tilz are the next evolution of a TV channel. Portable digital-content channels, which also, or even exclusively, live on the user's digital devices of choice, not just on the TV set. The old definition of a TV channel is outmoded; particularly in light of the increasing number of mobile and digital devices available. Users need a new type of channel that includes all sorts of content, online and offline, centered around a particular topic, and customized by affinity group, as per each user's profile. Today, channels live in the cloud. And are streamed to a user's TV at, say, 8 PM on CBS, whereupon the user can watch Survivor. With Channel Tilz, the channels live, not in the cloud, but on user's devices.
  • [1261]
    The user sets aside a certain amount of storage on each device, such as their TV DVR, and their PC, and their mobile handset. This is what is meant by a portable digital content channel.
  • [1262]
    Channel Tilz are also a way of collecting all the newly available ways of communicating (instant message, email, videos, social networking) and legacy ways of communicating (postal mail, radio and TV) into a single, cool, easy to use, format each channel centered around a particular concept. So all the messages, email, videos, etc. that a user receives, related, for instance, to soccer all appear in a super cool, brand new interactive way, on the soccer Channel Tilz.
  • [1263]
    Customizable (G-rated or R-rated version for individual users), Portable (can be viewed on any digital device: mobile device, PC, gaming rig, TV, etc.), Auto-Syncing (if Channel Tilz is on a device that currently lacks an Internet connection, syncs during next connection or update—including via WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.), Interactive (users can interact in realtime, and users can rate shows as they watch them—better than Nielsen ratings). Nielsen ratings rely on user memories, as opposed to Channel Tilz which can record actual usage automatically. Also the concept of ratings can expand to include how much a user enjoyed the show (not just how many people watched it), and how many products were purchased via ads, or in-show Net Dotz.
  • [1264]
    Today's TV channel. A TV channel is currently a slice of airwaves that the channel owner, say CBS, pays broadcasters to broadcast as a one-size-fits-all, segment by 30 minute segment, consecutive set of fixed programs. Each show is the same for all viewers. All viewers have to watch the show at the same time, as per the broadcast schedule. Whereas Channel Tilz, are a channel, that exist whenever and wherever a user chooses to sample from it. All shows are made available as individual Tilz (interactive digital data “tiles” or “Tilz” Facility 30) that a viewer can watch whenever they want, on any device they want.
  • [1265]
    Customized content: each show can be customized for the individual user, as per the user's profile; Spanish language, or with pop-in director and cast notes, etc.
  • [1266]
    Device customized: Tilz deliver the content formatted for the mobile handset, PC, TV, etc. as per the user's profile, and the device profile (high definition or surround sound, etc.).
  • [1267]
    Customized ads: ads are customized according to the user's (Ad Widge) profile.
  • [1268]
    No “broadcast rights” fees. Some content will be made available ala carte. Channel owners don't necessarily have to pay “broadcast rights” fees to companies such as Comcast or DirecTV. Channel owners become their own “broadcasters,” as their content lives on their servers. For example, in the future, CBS could choose to deliver some or all of their content directly to users bypassing broadcasters such as Comcast or DirecTV. The user's search engine seeks and downloads to their DVR, and/or PC and/or mobile device, etc. only those shows the viewer wants to see. The user doesn't have to watch the other 80% of CBS show offerings that don't interest that particular user.
  • [1269]
    All Tilz are transactable. Users get paid to receive ads, and can get information about items seen on a show, and even make item purchases from Tilz.
  • [1270]
    Individuals or companies create channels around a theme or product or subject. User-created content or user-assembled content. With Channel Tilz programming directors for networks may be replaced by individuals who act as “programming directors” assembling content from all available sources (TV, Web, private collections, their own produced content, etc.) and put together a channel which others can subscribe to. Multiple media types—channels can be videos, pictures, music, articles or any other type of digital and non-digital content. For example, a Channel Tilz about “cats” can, if the user's profile allows, alert the user to discounts or coupons on their brand of cat food when they are nearing a store (for which purchase the channel creator may receive a commission). Thus with Channel Tilz “channels” live in the real world, and move about with the user.
  • [1271]
    For example, the Coca Cola channel: Coke TV commercials, Coke radio commercials, Events that Coca Cola sponsors, Pictures of people enjoying a Coca Cola beverage, New promotions about Coca Cola, (can include) User-supplied Coca Cola related content. Interested parties subscribe to the Coca Cola channel. Similarly the Porsche channel: for lovers of all things Porsche. Video, magazine articles, TV news clips, movies, etc. Channel Tilz can be created by corporations or other entities, such as government bodies, sports teams, clubs, individuals, etc.
  • [1272]
    In embodiments Channel Tilz are Tilz that receive content from a specific source, Including television channels. But any person can own a Channel Tilz and “broadcast” it to anyone who wishes to view it. Marketers can use Channel Tilz to best reach their desired audience (channel marketing). So if there is a Channel Tilz for soccer or casts, then advertisers already have a self-selected audience with a specific focused interest. Making it easier to target marketing campaigns for related products and services.
  • [1273]
    Independent movie and TV producers Channel Tilz. If a movie maker's film isn't being distributed by a major house such as 20th Century Fox, their content can be found just as easily on the Independent Channel Tilz. Friend and family Channel Tilz: a new way to interact beyond current two dimensional social networks. Instead of people going to Tom's blog, or social network site, they simply click on Tom's Channel Tilz, to see what's “on.” Just as Myspace presented ways to share information that were similar to what they replaced (blogs and personal Websites), Channel Tilz present the next level of social profile presentation.
  • [1274]
    Trade show booth alternative. The Trade Show Channel Tilz. A lot of trade shows present valuable information a user would like to have. With the Trade Show Channel Tilz users could afford to “attend” far more trade shows by simply subscribing to the Trade Show Channel Tilz. It's too expensive for companies/others to exhibit at all the trade shows in the world. Exhibiting companies can't afford the time and money to attend all of them, but could put together a virtual booth on a particular trade show Channel Tilz. There could be an overarching trade show channel, which contains all the sub-channels for individual trade show types (semiconductors, software, dentistry, etc.). But with Channel Tilz, go beyond today's “channel.” Think Second Life for trade shows. These Channel Tilz channel are not limited by conventional art channels. Channel Tilz provide an environment where interested users' avatars walk around to various booths at the virtual trade show, and interact live with personnel from that exhibiting company. Trade shows, via Channel Tilz, take place in the virtual world. Attendees still gather in one spot, but online.
  • [1275]
    A Channel Tilz for videogames; an E3 Channel Tilz (Electronic Entertainment Expo) which virtualizes this offline expo for videogame producers. A Comic-Con (comic book convention) Channel Tilz. Comic-Con has their own channel, not just one profile among millions on a social networking site. Comic-Con keeps its own advertising ad revenue, not just letting the social network profit off their profile. Furthermore, users then have a source, the Comic-Con Channel Tilz, to follow comic book related information all year round, as well as make transactions. Users can get their own shows on Comic-Con sub-channels, as a way of reaching out to other comic book enthusiasts.
  • [1276]
    Companies can create Channel Tilz for their product or service. Free take-home for trade show attendees. In embodiments People who still physically attend real world trade shows get a subscription to the Trade Show Channel Tilz, which contains all the content for that trade show. For those that did not physically attend the conference, organizers can charge a fee to get a subscription to the Trade Show Channel Tilz. Split fee revenue with trade show sponsors for subscribed Tilz.
  • [1277]
    Critic's choice Channel Tilz. Individuals take over the task of searching out interesting digital content, and offline content, to feed to a particular Channel Tilz to which others subscribe, with our without a fee. Search engines can locate not only the Channel Tilz themselves, but also individual shows and even program segments via tags supplied by producers and viewers.
  • [1278]
    Digital radio/TV Channel Tilz. For instance, each Sirius radio show can be made available on individual Tilz that subscribers can order into playlists and listen to as they wish. That is to say, Sirius radio is currently presented in a two-dimensional format. A grid of hundreds of channels, each presenting content in roughly one hour segmented blocks. With a Sirius Channel Tilz every one hour block, for example, on every channel, would be in its own Tilz. Users could then pull just those Tilz they want to listen to, in whatever order they wish, at whatever time of day they wish. Sirius already has the content, and as long as they are receiving their monthly subscription fees, they can offer greater flexibility to users, ensuring the best user experience possible.
  • [1279]
    Other uses for Channel Tilz include modeling agencies (all their models, with bio, pics, videos, look book, etc.) or a designer's portfolio (all products, photos, videos from shows, etc.) presented in a Channel Tilz. Clothing and product, designers look book, presented in the exciting new Channel Tilz format. Click on any dress, for example, to be taken to more clothes by that designer. Click on an individual model to see more work by that model. See entire product portfolios, presented in a new way. Channel Tilz are far more aligned with new devices such as smartphones, than current conventional art modalities. The potential use cases for Channel Tilz go on and on. Dynamic catalogs that are interactive, customized and fully transactable. And which items are displayed, and how displayed, varies by viewer, according to each user's profile.
  • [1280]
    Users get paid, to receive ads, offers, and coupons related to the content in each Channel Tilz they subscribe to. And competitive channels can pay to be on a user's Spherez (a Mobi information navigation facility that maps content bundled into tiles on the surface facets of a sphere) or for priority placement thereon. Some Channel Tilz will pay users to subscribe to that Channel Tilz, which in some cases may be akin to one continuous ad about that topic/product.
  • [1281]
    Distribute content on a Channel Tilz. Once a user has the content they can make it available on a subscription or pay-per-view basis. Reviewing and critiquing content: sell reviews or run ads next to the reviews and critiques. Aggregating content: pull together a beautifully curated collection of content on a particular subject; such as butterfly collecting. And in addition to pictures and videos and maps showing migration routes there are also the location of physical butterfly collections that users can visit. So let's say that years after the user subscribes to the Butterfly Collection Channel Tilz, they travel to Paris. In Paris, the user might think about going to the Louvre, but not know that there is a small museum nearby, where there is an impressive butterfly collection on display. The user's Channel Tilz alerts the user to this butterfly collection at this real world location. Editing content: edit out the boring bits. Such as baseball game summaries in 20 minutes, showing all the pitches and hits.
  • [1282]
    Avid watchers pull best-of content into a single Channel Tilz. Vertical Channel Tilz: Will Smith (TV, movies, music, home videos, etc.). All things Will Smith. Or, perhaps, a vertical Channel Tilz about architecture. Horizontal: Italy (travel deals, hotels, videos/pictures taken there, etc.). The Italy Channel Tilz could include: people, places, and things that relate to Italy, including its history, and the architecture of Italy. Channel Tilz are a more sophisticated way to reach customers than, say, Nordstrom's texting, regarding such things as discounted merchandise. Via Channel Tilz companies can run full videos, articles, comparative ads, coupons, etc. New devices such as the smartphone and mobile DVRs (Mobi Homi), engender new modalities such as Channel Tilz.
  • [1283]
    And Channel Tilz are a new way to feature content, and cause individuals (and other entities) to interact around that content. Not only are there opportunities to meet and interact with other users via Second Life-like channels, but also in the real world a user's profile broadcast (“CloudCast”) can indicate which Channel Tilz they are subscribed to, such that strangers on the street might stop to take to each other, if they were both subscribers to the “Tibetan Terrier” Channel Tilz. And individuals can create Channel Tilz for themselves, as an alternative to the conventional art social networking Website profile. Want to find out what Bob's up to? Grab Bob's Channel Tilz to see what's “on”—the theater of one's life.
  • [1284]
    And Channel Tilz extend to the real world in other ways as well: if a user subscribes to a company's Channel Tilz, as that user moves about in the real world, the user can receive messages with in-situ examples of how that company's product or service would be useful. If a user subscribes, for instance, to the Nike Channel Tilz, then as the user were beginning a hike on a trail then the Nike Channel Tilz could let the user know about new lightweight hiking shoes available at a nearby shoe store (which could be made know by the Survey Egg (Facility 39) or Gotz Dotz (Facility 37) CloudCast (Facility 23) at the trailhead). If a users subscribes to the Restaurant Aficionados Channel Tilz, then when they are near a recommended restaurant their Channel Tilz widget will let them know they are close by and ask if they would like to make a reservation. Or let the user know about a cookbook by a recommended restaurant chef on that Channel Tilz, when that user is in a bookstore.
  • [1285]
    Channel Tilz are truly the next evolution of a channel. They are portable and interactive. The user carries Channel Tilz around as they move about in the real world. And Channel Tilz alert the user to items or offers (or other things) related to that Channel. No such other conventional art channels have this capability. Channel Tilz interact with offline items, and also revolutionize social networking, search, marketing, and merchandising.
  • Facility 3 Coupon Management Facility
  • [1286]
    5103
  • [1287]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates interactive, multimedia, customized, user-solicited coupons (hereafter “Coupon Widge”) is provided. Coupon Widge enables advertisers to better target interested coupon recipients. Instead of users being bombarded with random coupons, users, in embodiments, scan the barcodes/RFID of the items they use everyday to build a profile of items they could really use coupons for. This profile indicates not only those items the user would like coupons for, but also how, when and where. Coupon Widge enables a number of innovative advertising modalities including: local advertising, location-based advertising, timely advertising, contextual coupons, blended coupons, interest category coupons, behavioral coupons models, affinity coupon models, intramedia/intrastitial coupons, self-aggregating group coupons, realtime competitive coupons, and more.
  • [1288]
    With almost a trillion paper coupons delivered each year, and virtually all of no interest to users, why not deliver just those coupons that each user actually wants and needs? The cost to coupon issuers is 1 cent to 5 cents each to author, design, print, ship, handle and redeem. 99% of the more than 10 billion dollars spent each year by paper coupon issuers is wasted. Accordingly an improved method for delivering and utilizing coupons is desirable. Coupon Widge delivers solutions for both paper and electronic coupons. With Coupon Widge paper coupons' barcodes can be scanned thus enabling the user to automatically receive that coupon's discount at checkout, especially when paying via mobile device (Mobi). Users can also scan items while shopping in a store, and if their Coupon Widge profile allows, receive instant electronic coupons for those products or even competing products. Coupon Widge was informed by the transition to the new computing platform, the mobile device (Mobi). Mobile device penetration is much higher than digital TV or hardline Internet, so Coupon Widge is especially desirable for emerging markets such as India. Coupon Widge enables a two-way ongoing communication and relationship between coupon issuer and user.
  • [1289]
    When Coupon Widge was invented in 2002, mobile, location-based digital couponing was unheard of. Conventional art couponing solutions are mainly focused on the coupon sender rather than the coupon receiver. Users don't want every possible coupon available, they want only those offers as per their profile. In embodiments, user-solicited coupons appear on the user's handset (Mobi) from places the user wants discounts from. In embodiments, a user's Coupon Widge profile is continuously CloudCast (Facility 23), blocking unwanted coupons and getting paid to accept desired coupons. Rebates, are an ex post facto form of a coupon, and thus are tracked and delivered via Coupon Widge. And Coupon Widge does the work of tracking those rebates that often take many weeks to arrive. In embodiments, coupons are electronically delivered to users as per their Coupon Widge profile, thus reducing the unnecessary expense of the billion of coupons printed in newspapers, and Value Packs, and at stores, etc.
  • [1290]
    With Coupon Widge coupons can be multimedia, such as animated characters, or even favorite cartoon or movie characters. Coupons can speak their message: “Today we're featuring 50 cents off Alpo dog food” and can be in the licensed voice of a, say, a move star. No longer are coupons just a boring slip of paper with a barcode on it.
  • [1291]
    Users create a profile of coupons they are willing to receive, primarily through barcode/RFID scanning from products they utilize. Alternatively users can indicate they are willing to let any entity send a coupon—on any subject—if the sender pays the user (a minimum price set by the user). Each user can set their own prices to receive coupons. Users also decide if they want to get paid by advertisers or market research firms (or other entities) to view the user's Coupon Widge profile. Cumulative totals and/or frequency of various items purchased is valuable information that the user's profile contains. And beyond just frequency information, there is specific purchase information. For example, a user's profile might indicate a user purchased grated Parmesan cheese 18 times in the past year. But beyond that is much more granular information such as: What sizes of bags (8 ounce or jumbo 32 ounce)? Which brands? Re-sealable pouches or vacuum packed bags? Which stores were they purchased at? What payment modalities were utilized? et. al. The user gets paid by market research companies and manufacturers (and other entities) to view the user's Coupon Widge profile which contains such valuable detailed information.
  • [1292]
    Local coupons. Coupons delivered, say, as a user walks past a yogurt shop. Coupon Widge has the technologies to automatically deliver, from the yogurt shop's owner's mobile handset (Mobi), coupons to passersby whose profiles indicate a desire for yogurt coupons or who would otherwise be a good candidate to receive a yogurt coupon. Location-based coupons. Sent to users within a few miles of a restaurant, and thus have time to make it to the 6 PM dinner service. Instead of bombarding users with coupons as they near various restaurants, users solicit, via their ComCloud (Facility 23) only That restaurants, or only restaurants under $25/person. Timely coupons. TKTS ticket booth makes tickets available via mobile devices (Mobis) starting 30 minutes before a show. Captive coupons. Screens such as those in an elevator or at a gas pump, can deliver coupons, via Coupon Widge, even via Bluetooth, to devices that lack wireless carrier network service. Coupons thusly delivered can be for gasoline when at the gas station, or products in the mini market at the gas station, or coupons for the carwash attached to the gas station, as well as coupons for businesses near that gas station; but in all cases in accordance with the user's profile. In emerging-market countries with limited Internet access, providing a place where users update their Tilz at a captive location (which might be one of the few places in town which has Internet access) might be crucial. Corporate uses. Corporations can make available branded elements that user's post on their profile Tilz, or other Tilz, in exchange for coupons for items the user is interested in. Very cool templates that user can get but instead of paying for them, the sponsor covers the cost, in exchange for that profile Tilz element proclaiming, for example, “Built Ford Tough.” Advertisers create custom coupons. A tire coupon that appeals to men, another version that appeals to women, another version that appeals to teenagers, etc. Also different coupon formats for: junk mail, digital radio, digital TV, Website banners, mobile devices vs PCs, etc. etc. Missed demand coupons. For example, a user walks into a store and sees that there are no 2-liter Cokes left on the shelf. This user would have bought 4 bottles. Instead of a simple, but hassle to get rain check, Coupon Widge notifies the store and the manufacturer exactly how many additional units users indicated they would have purchased. This “missed demand” data is valuable information that the store may give the user a coupon for, and the manufacturer may pay users for indicating would-be purchase data. Not only that, but stores and manufacturers get this data in realtime. Analytics they've never had available before. Sponsored coupons. Instead of ads that appear during a TV show, relevant coupons can be delivered to all viewers who view the entire episode. This is a new way to monetize content. And viewers could receive coupons to watch a show delivered on a Tilz, then pass the Tilz along to another user. Related offer coupons. Buy a pair of shoes, and get paid to receive a socks coupon. Competition coupons. While buying Tide detergent, in realtime, in the store, standing at the user's cart, get paid to allow Cheer detergent to send a competition coupon. Coupons can become ads. When a user receives a competition coupon, they might want to know why Cheer is better than Tide. To turn the coupon into an ad the user simply taps on the coupon to get the Cheer ad Tilz. The ad Tilz that the user receives will be in accordance with the user's Web Pref (Facility 20) and Ad Widge (Facility 1) profiles. The ad Tilz might be a 10-second video the user watches ala minute (right then) on their mobile device or the user might choose to receive more detailed ads via the car radio on their drive home from the store or even during their TV viewing that evening. RFI coupons. Request for Information coupons. See something on TV, (for example, the user likes the shirt that TV actor was wearing) want more information, get a coupon for $5 off that shirt from Macy's. Information sought via an RFI coupon may come from unconventional sources, such as via Hosted Everything (Facility 6) where information may come from a passionate expert about that item. Reverse coupons. As Coupon Widge forms groups of users who are about to make a certain purchase, in a certain geographic area (say those imminently ready to buy 4 tires, or even just a bag of charcoal for their weekend BBQs), Coupon Widge via digital task agents (Victors Botz Facility 17) solicit companies who wish to offer the best fulfillment of this need. Reverse coupons are for those advertisers which may prefer to deal with groups of users, rather than one-to-one marketing, and one-to-one coupons.
  • [1293]
    Contextual coupons. Watching sports, receive sports-related coupons, but not for mortgage refinancing costs coupons. Blended coupons. Users into live music might allow: Digital Arts College of San Francisco presents Expression Session featuring Silver Sun Pickups (band) event coupons. Interest categories. Movie buffs could allow coupons for all movie theaters, or just for individual horror films, or just films starring Halle Berry. Behavioral coupons. Allow coupons based upon the behavior of similar others (attends sporting events, married, car lover, age 25-40, etc.). Affinity coupons. Allow coupons based upon the interests of others in the user's affinity group (women, men, college students, singles, soccer team, etc.). Intramedia or intrastitial coupons. Coupons embedded within another show, movie, document (Tilz) or coupons offered in the gap of time between various shows. Branded coupons. Companies can offer to sponsor coupons, discounts, and offers made to customers. For instance, a hotel and an airline can team up to make joint travel offers. So if a user flies Virgin Atlantic, the user could get a 10% coupon from any downtown London Marriott hotel. Additionally conventional art payment processing and credit card companies such as Visa, MasterCard and AMEX could choose to issue branded coupons via Coupon Widge. A Visa “40 cents off Cheer” coupon can be thought of as the first 40 cents toward a transaction that Visa might be processing anyway. Smart back-of-the-register-receipt coupons. A user's coupon profile CloudCasts to the point of sale (POS) receipt printer, which coupons the user would like to receive. For example if a user just moved to a new town, that user might need a new place to get a haircut, therefore when shopping, his register receipt may print barbershop coupons, instead of random dog food coupons. Piggyback coupons. One user can piggyback on another user's coupons. If the originating user's profile allow this, then the originating user gets paid. For example, user #1 in a store scores a great coupon. User #2 who's also in that store wants to take advantage as well. User #2 pays an instantaneous iDough (Facility 7) fee to the originating user #1, and thereby user #2 receives the same coupon or deal. Product or service companies may even get paid. For example, user #1 scores a BOGO (Buy One Get One free) coupon for detergent. User #2 sees that this is a better coupon for detergent than user #2 already had. How? User #2 has detergent listed in their Coupon Widge profile. User #2 might have only had a 75 cents off coupon, but BOGO is better. However, user #2 has to pay user #1, and possibly even the detergent company, say 10 cents each, to get this deal. Thereby the detergent company, via Coupon Widge, has customers evangelizing on their behalf, and is getting paid. This can be accomplished anonymously: for example, a user receives the following instant message on their phone: “A better coupon deal for detergent has been found by another user in this store. Would you like to pay 20 cents to receive a BOGO coupon for Tide?” This is a truly interactive coupon, which actually engages a customer in realtime, and gets them emotionally (and financially) involved in a company's product transaction. And neither party #1 nor party #2 receive any additional monies, unless they both purchase Tide. Thus users who do a lot of research and find a great deal can, via Coupon Widge, be compensated for their efforts (if the product or service provider allows piggybacking by selling such a deal to others). Piggyback profiles. Originating user #1 whose carefully honed profile is now producing a lot of income or deals for that user, can sell portions of their profile to other users. Other users' profiles get upgraded temporarily to the status of user #1. If the other users use the couponed products with sufficient frequency (i.e. increases their conversion ratio sufficiently), they will get to keep their upgraded profile. Profiles=currency. Other users can pay the originating user to allow them to piggyback on the originating user's great coupon profile. And its a win/win/win situation. The product manufacturer now has their own customer base evangelizing their product. More users are getting better deals on that product (and thus are more loyal). And the merchants are seeing increased unit sales. Coupon Widge can be introduced to businesses by users' ComClouds indicating they are utilizing Coupon Widge—and thereby can act as a salesforce for Coupon Widge.
  • [1294]
    Coupon Widge provides a revolutionary solution to the problem of unwanted coupons. Not only does Coupon Widge save advertisers money, but also save users money by paying them to receive coupons. Coupons can now be tied to a user's expressed interests and purchase history, automatically. Coupon Widge advances the concept of a coupon in literally dozens of ways, that will truly revolutionize merchandising. Accompanying the ushering in of the mobile device (Mobi) as the next computing platform, users will thereby be able to take charge of their own profiles. Thus in addition to having an ad profile, they'll also have a coupon profile, so they can be shielded from and otherwise manage the blizzard of ads and offers and Coupon Widge will become an integral part of the user's life flow.
  • Facility 4 Interactive Digital Guidebooks Facility
  • [1295]
    5104
  • [1296]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates interactive, digital guidebooks (hereafter “Dotz Guides”) is provided. Dotz Guides are interactive, digital guidebooks. A user utilizes their mobile (or other) device to scan the barcode/RFID of an item, or queries the CloudCast (Facility 23) of an item, to get more information about that item. Dotz Guides replace analog, printed materials with digital, personalized Tilz (interactive digital data “tiles” Facility 30). If user needs the manual for a product they are using, they simply scan, for instance, the barcode for the item to receive a product manual Tilz. A user standing next to a little church in Europe can find out more about that church by scanning the digital Internet protocol IP barcode (hereafter “Net Dotz” Facility 27) at the entrance to receive a Tilz about that church.
  • [1297]
    Dotz Guides are customized and personalized. Whether the Tilz is for a product manual or is a travel guide to a foreign country, user #1's Tilz will be different from user #2's Tilz, as per each user's profile. For example, presenting information in a user's native language, or a version of the guide in accordance with a user's affinity profile. For example Dotz Guides guidebooks for a given European church: architectural focus, human rights focus, history focus, kids-level information, etc.
  • [1298]
    Consumers. If a user writes a “mini-guide” or “Cliff Notes” version, say, of a classroom textbook, that user might make other users aware of their guide, simply by having users scan the Net Dotz on the textbook. This could be an additional source of income for both the textbook author and publisher, as well as the user who created the “Cliff Notes” version.
  • [1299]
    Tour Sites. Anyone can create a guide to, say, a European castle. Then, as tourists come to the castle and scan the Net Dotz on the castle they can choose from any of the available guidebooks. And becomes and income source for both the castle owner as well as the guidebook author. And for a historic church, the user can scan the Net Dotz at the doorway to receive the list of available Dotz Guides: a church history article; an audio/video history of the church; a guided tour of the church, including directions to specific locations within the church or its grounds that are of particular interest. Some guidebooks may be free while others are available for a fee, and wherefrom the church makes a commission on all sales. Even devices that lack global positioning satellite (GPS)-functionality can guide users to specific locations in/near the church via the use of Survey Eggs (Facility 39) or Survey Nuts (Facility 38). And users can access Dotz Guides without wireless carrier service, via Bluetooth, WiFi, or other means.
  • [1300]
    How-To Dotz Guides. When a user figures out, say, how to solve a tough knitting problem they can post that solution on the Net Dotz (the barcode) for that type of yarn. Other users don't have to log onto one of thousands of knitting-related Websites and post their solution there, hoping that other users also happen to log onto that same Website. With Dotz Guides the user posts the solution on the Net Dotz (the barcode) actually on the item. Thus every user can instantly find and access that solution.
  • [1301]
    How-to guides/manuals examples include: How to fill out a form (and the information is retrieved by the user directly by scanning the form's Net Dotz); How to do some task, such as change a car tire (the Dotz Guide is in a convenient location such as a Net Dotz on the car jack. The user can also CloudCast offers for help changing the tire so that a nearby tow truck might provide that service. All this available from the Dotz Guide, which is a transactable Tilz; How to attend the book author's next live lecture (simply scan the book's Net Dotz); How to let the manufacturer know an item is mislabeled (a can of tuna pink-labeled as “No Salt Added” was actually “Salt Added” tuna—and therefore should have had a green label. The user can simply scan the Net Dotz on the tuna can, and the Dotz Guide Tilz provides an instant connection to the manufacturer and the store to let them know about the mislabeling. The user gets paid for providing this information. And the manufacturer or store can make an instantaneous change to the IP-based RFID (Facility 33) label for that product as well as offer discounted pricing on these mislabeled items (and warn low sodium dieters); How to find the closest beer vendor to your seat at the stadium (just scan the seat-back and the user will be Dotz Guided to the closest source of suds (and now the user has an on-device guide to all the other concession stands, as well as the location of the bathrooms, security office, medical personnel, exits, lost & found, etc.).
  • [1302]
    Commercial applications for Dotz Guides abound, such as for product manuals. Product manuals are often hard to understand and frequently lost after users get the item home. With Dotz Guides, simply scan the product's Net Dotz, and the product manual Tilz is sent to the user's mobile (or other) device. Businesses can save money by not shipping product manuals, instead enabling customers to download the product manual Tilz whenever they need it, right when they are using the product, by scanning that product's Net Dotz (barcode). Furthermore, Dotz Guides manual have features not found in printed product manuals: 1) Wild additions to the manual by other users (some of whom may write far more effectively than the company's in-house manual writers); 2) some users act as super-users to answer questions for free or for a fee (split income with the item manufacturer and Net Dotz)); and, among other features, 3) Chat features and blog forums, about product installation, setup and user enables users to share tips and tricks.
  • [1303]
    Myriad other uses for Dotz Guides include personalized medicine instructions via barcodes on medicine bottles (users can scan their prescription medicine bottle Net Dotz and receive a Tilz with personalized instructions for usage, based upon consideration of interactions with other drugs or medicines or alcohol that user is taking. And customized as per the user's Medical CloudCast (Facility 23) profile which contains that user's Prescription Drugs VictorsList (Facility 18).
  • [1304]
    Other business uses include employee training. Dotz Guides can considerably reduce employee training costs. For example, teaching how a particular bolt secures a window frame to the high rise, via Net Dotz on the window frame or box of bolts, which when scanned returns a Tilz which provides on the job, in-situ, per task, on-demand training videos, and text and spoken guidance. All achieved simply by scanning the actual object or machine or device that the employee is trying to learn how to utilize. Train employees on new equipment by scanning the actual object or machine or device that the employee is trying to learn how to utilize/operate; recipes on food packages (via Net Dotz that deliver customized different Tilz depending upon the profile of the person scanning the food package. This creates untold new revenue opportunities: manufacturers can supply free or for-fee recipes (via scanning barcode/RFID) on their package labels.
  • [1305]
    Manufacturers can also make extra money by getting paid to allow other chefs or restaurants to bid to put their recipe on that food package, that week. Furthermore, manufacturers can present customized information as per each user's profile. For example, when a user scans the Net Dotz on a can of diced tomatoes: one user might bet the beef wellington recipe, while another might get a beanie weenie recipe. Public transportation guidance assistance (go down into a subway, go the route map on the wall, scan the user's current location station, scan the destination point, receive a Tilz which details which trains to catch, at which platforms, where to transfer, which way to walk after exiting the tube station, etc. all sent to the user's mobile device). Travel guidebooks (travel guidebooks have a Net Dotz next to each tourist attraction listed. Scan the Net Dotz of that item, scan the Net Dotz plaque in the user's hotel (or hotel room) and an itinerary is instantly created complete with which buses, taxis, or subways the traveler needs to take to each site they want to visit. And it's all in the user's native language and the user gets paid to allow transportation companies to bid in realtime on this newly created itinerary. In embodiments Dotz Guides include a virtual concierge. The virtual concierge can be white labeled to or from third parties (such as the hotel, which may thereby earn the hotel commissions on the itinerary created, for example.). Such a virtual concierge service can save a hotel the cost of having a live concierge on staff, and amazingly can turn the concierge function into an income center via commissions for various recommendations by the virtual concierge.
  • [1306]
    Live Guides: connect with others who happen to be using the same product at the same time, and ask how-to user questions, such as “How do I mount my new mini-vacuum on the wall? The directions in the printed manual were totally unclear.” Users can also find answers to past queries (ala FAQs) that the product company (or super-users) can curate—extending and expanding the definition and the usability of a product guide.
  • [1307]
    Dotz Guides on restaurant menus. Users scan the Net Dotz on the menu with a mobile device. The user's Web Preferences profile directs the user to/avoid specific menu items, and recalls past items the user ordered at that/similar restaurant(s). Enables user to rate each dish, and provide feedback to the restaurant to improve the dish/menu. After eating there, the user's restaurant profile is automatically updated; which can suggest other restaurants/items at other restaurants. And the users get paid (for example, to accept offers from other restaurants, after viewing the user's restaurant profile). And the restaurant gets paid (in many ways, such as selling recipes to users or selling alternate restaurant recommendations (if you like our restaurant you might like to try this other restaurant by the same chef or management company or hotel chain or that also has a great view in this nearby city, etc. etc.). Users can bring home the Tilz for the restaurant menu for later reference, takeout ordering, or inclusion in their Restaurants Eaten At VictorsList.
  • [1308]
    Wine sommelier guide. Add interest to the wine list in restaurants. Scan the Net Dotz on the wine list to bring up a virtual sommelier (as the user's wine profile: different critics have differing tastes). The virtual sommelier breaks the wine list into segments: by country, food pairing groups, etc. If a red wine is selected they are arranged into groups such as “big and bold,” “soft and velvety,” by country, etc. If the user chooses “By Country,” a list of countries pops up. The user chooses Spain. Wine list by Spanish region appears. Map mashup showing various varietal regions. Travel profile mashup, enables the user to choose from regions they traveled to, such as near Alhambra. Each bottle has tasting notes Tilz (as per the user's favorite critic). Users get paid to allow competing wineries to offer realtime ads or coupons (or competition suggestions) for wine to be paired with the chosen dish, or as the second bottle at the table that night. So, if a user scanned the Net Dotz for a bottle of Silver Oak cabernet that user might instantly get paid to receive an offer from another wine on the wine list, such as Opus One. And Opus One might offer a $5 discount if the user orders Opus One instead or in addition to the Silver Oak. Win/win/win for user/restaurant/winery.
  • [1309]
    Restaurants get paid in several ways. For instance, restaurants get paid to allow sommeliers to come in and create a matrix of food and wine pairings for that restaurant's menu vs its wine list—for all different types of wine drinkers with various wine preference profiles. Simply by including that matrix Tilz in the restaurant's CloudCast the sommelier collects all the income until the sommelier's investment is recouped, then the restaurant and sommelier split future income for a contracted time period. Some sommeliers receive commissions paid directly from various wineries to promote their wines. Paid search or guidance is a growing convention. The restaurant might also save the personnel cost of one or more live sommeliers on their payroll—a huge savings. Users can scan menu items and have other (third party) sommeliers or wine tip Tilz make suggestions as to wine pairings for that menu item (based on the menu item name or even ingredients of that dish). Also Dotz Guides can automatically create individual user-preference driven pairings using that restaurant's wine list. This is a source of income, as third parties can offer to make realtime wine suggestions to users for, say, 25 cents, with the restaurants splitting that income with the third party (and Dotz Guides). It makes the user appear to be a knowledgeable wine connoisseur. Would some people pay 25 cents when at an important dinner to ensure they make a great wine choice? And especially a wine choice that fits the individual preference profile of their important guest (which is being CloudCast).
  • [1310]
    In embodiments Dotz Guides creates a new type of insurance. For example, if the user paid 25 cents for a recommendation, that 25 cents could be refunded if the user didn't like the bottle of wine, and/or the 25 cents could be a new form of insurance policy. If after following the paid recommendation of this certain sommelier or wine recommendation service, the user doesn't like the bottle of wine, the insurance covers the cost of the bottle (up to certain dollar amount limits). In embodiments, guaranteed paid recommendation costs $1 (or other amount) extra—for the insurance policy.
  • [1311]
    In summary, the millions of potential uses for Dotz Guides will supplant millions of currently analog items, such as printed manuals or menus, with cooler, customizable, transactable, interactive digital Tilz which benefit all parties involved. Manufacturers not only save the cost of printing product manuals, but also gain a new ongoing relationship vehicle (the Dotz Guide) with their customers. And companies using Dotz Guides will benefit from numerous new income streams. As well as realtime information about product usage. Some individuals will even be able to create mini-businesses utilizing Dotz Guides. And finally, the users of Dotz Guides will get paid for providing feedback or receiving offers related to that product or service.
  • Facility 5 Profile Management Facility
  • [1312]
    5105
  • [1313]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates interactive, transactable profile management (hereafter “Galaxz”) is provided. Profiles are not just for people, every thing has a Tilz (a digital “baseball card”-like profile, in a new digital-content format, Facility 30). Take your Tilz with you. Offline or on. On any device. All Tilz are transactable. Every object on earth can have a profile with information about that item, and Galaxz is where every profile for every thing can live. With Galaxz such profiles are available not just online, but offline, so that users can interact with everything in a revolutionary new way. Galaxz (rhymes with galaxy) is the profiles of all the people, places, and things (and more) in a user's life—the user's Galaxz.
  • [1314]
    Galaxz is built from (Tilz) profiles. And Tilz live directly on user's devices (not just at remote servers). Thus users are moving about in the world with their Galaxz of information surrounding them, which facilitates novel interactions and transactions. For uses who enjoy social networking via conventional are social networking sites such as Myspace, social networking via Galaxz is even an even more enjoyable and profitable (literally) experience—Galaxz is three dimensional, in the real world, and users get paid to park their profiles (as opposed to conventional art social networking sites where users don't share in the revenue their profile engenders). Users can create Tilz on various devices (such as mobile handsets) and share via Bluetooth (or other means). Galaxz enables users to control who sees their content, and what they see. Profile-based display: the profile of the viewer determines which Tilz are shown and how displayed. If the viewer is a friend, party photos are displayed; if the viewer is mom, no party photos. If the viewer is a trusted avid collector, the user's related collection Tilz are shown. If the viewer is unknown (and could be, for instance, your boss) simple public Tilz are displayed.
  • [1315]
    Profile-based links. With Galaxz, links destinations are based upon the profile of the link user. User #1 clicks on a link for “wine” and may be taken to Trader Joe's Website for their $2 wine (if user #1's profile indicates a propensity toward inexpensive wine); User #2 clicks on the very same “wine” link, yet may be taken to the Nickel & Nickel Website (if user #2's profile indicates a propensity towards premium, Napa wines). Furthermore, instead of being “going” to Websites, users may instead download the ParaSite (Facility 29), which is a customized, local subset Website—customized as per each user's profile. So, for instance, if a user featured some charities on their Galaxz profile(s), the Galaxz user may receive a commission if a visitor donates to that charity via the ParaSite the visitor received (downloaded to the visitor's device).
  • [1316]
    Profiles are not just for people and companies, but also for things, objects, ideas, philosophies, intentions, wishes, every animate and inanimate object, down to atomic unit levels . . . literally anything and everything. And having the profile of the things in a users life makes the user's life better. For example, if the user has a Tilz profile in their Galaxz of every food item they own, such as each jar of Gerber baby food in the cupboard, then if there happens to be a product recall on that particular jar, then the user can receive live recall alerts, before such food is fed to their child. And if the user has the Tilz profile of their, say, refrigerator, in their Galaxz, then if something goes wrong with their refrigerator, the user simply changes the status of the Tilz (the profile) for their refrigerator to “Needs Repair” and certified repair personnel will respond—without the user having to spend the user's time “searching” (an archaic conventional art activity) for same. Galaxz profiles continuously attract like-content to each profile, thus users have information at their fingertips when they need it, automatically—which thereby revolutionizes search, marketing, advertising, merchandising, interacting and transacting.
  • [1317]
    Search is no longer a process, a chore, which users have to take time out of their life to perform. Search happens automatically, as users simply post a Tilz profile pertaining to a want or need in their Galaxz, and entities that can meet that want or need respond. And users can get paid to receive such information, ads, offers, etc. related to each want or need. Third parties, such as conventional are search engines who have inserted themselves in the middle of transactions, are no longer necessary with Galaxz. Galaxz puts the only two parties to a transaction that matter (for example, the buyer and the seller) in direct contact with each other. Thus conventional art search/advertising firms can be disintermediated, and monies previously paid to them, can be saved and pocketed by the advertising/marketing entities, and even shared directly with the end user, whose profile was of sufficient value that the third party was not necessary—thus users get paid for the value inherent in their profiles. And the more robust and complete a user's Galaxz profiles are, the more valuable the profiles are, and the more a user may be paid for utilization of same.
  • [1318]
    Conventional art search/advertising entities were designed around the following motto: how much money can we make off users. With Galaxz however (which only gets paid when users get paid), it's how much money can be made with users. Galaxz' governing leitmotif is “users first.” Galaxz' interests are aligned with users'—which cannot be said of many conventional art companies in this space. Conventional art advertising lacks mightily as to relevance. The majority of ads that a user is subjected to are irrelevant to the user, either because the ad pertains to a product or service the user is uninterested in, or the product or service is relevant, but not at this moment. Galaxz addresses both these shortcomings of the conventional art. First, ads sent to users can be based upon the profiles in the user's Galaxz (such as a profile Tilz for each and every single thing the user owns), thus ensuring relevance. But Galaxz addresses the issue of timely relevance as well. If the user just purchased tires for their car, then that user doesn't need to see tire ads for, say, 3 years or 36,000 miles. And with Galaxz, there is a profile Tilz for the user's car tires with metadata pertaining to the expected useful life (EOL) of the object in question. Thus Galaxz sets the status for tires, vis a vis tire ads/offers/information (and other), to BLOCK such ads/offers/information, until a month or two before EOL is reached. At which point Galaxz automatically (if the user wishes) sets the profile for that user's tires back to ACCEPT vis a vis ads/offers/information, which is timely because the user (according to this example) needs to prepare to purchase new tires, and such information would therefore be relevant and timely.
  • [1319]
    In contrast, the conventional art search/advertising entities (which create profiles of users based upon guesses, as opposed to the facts contained in a user's Galaxz) would burden the user with ads/offers/information/etc. each time the user, for instance, wrote the word “tire” in an email (since some conventional art search/advertising entities spy on users' every email), or say the word “tire” while on a phone call (since some search/advertising entities listen to every single phone call made with their phone service technology) or performed a search with the word “tire” in the search string—which is very likely during any three year period, but which would only produce unprofitable results for both tire manufacturers/installers as well as users. Unprofitable for tire manufacturers/installers which would therefore pay this search/advertising entity to advertise to this user who utilized the word “tire” in one of the above-described (or other) cases, but yet did not need tires yet. Conventional art search/advertising puts money in the pocket of the conventional art search/advertising entity every time, even though the only two important parties to a tire transaction (the tire manufacturer/installer and the user) were both made unhappy (and lost money and/or time, due to the deficiencies that inform conventional art search/advertising). Conventional art search/advertising entities don't tie their income to actual transactions, they get paid every time, even when getting paid does nothing more than line their pockets at the advertising entities expense (and the expense of wasted user time). Conventional art search/advertising drives up the costs of goods sold, which users must eventually pay for (as marketing costs are built into the retail price for products, retail prices that users eventually pay). Accordingly an improved search/advertising model is desirable, and Galaxz profiles (of every entity, person, object, thing, etc. and thereby can inform any other entity with which it interacts/transacts) form the foundation of an improved search/advertising modality (see Facility 16 uTag search, and Facilities 1 Ad Widge and 2 Coupon Widge).
  • [1320]
    Conventional art social networking sites, maintain data (profiles) at remote data centers. With Galaxz, a user's profiles can live directly on the user's devices. Thus, for billions of users around the world who don't have expensive wireless carrier network service, Galaxz is still usable and functional and life- and business-changing on a plurality of devices. With Galaxz, users move about in the real world, engaging in interactions and transactions based upon information (profiles) the users have literally on their person/device. Galaxz informs real world interactions and transactions that make a user's life easier and better (as well as can perform the same conventional art remote hosted profile interactions). In 2nd and 3rd world villages, users can move about with a profile for, say, their crop, and engage in ad hoc transactions with persons they happen to be passing by, that can supplement traditional transactions performed in the traditional marketplace (which too is transformed by all users at the marketplace having Galaxz profiles of their wants and needs, thereby making it easier to identify intersections of interest).
  • [1321]
    Corporations. Galaxz was built from the ground up for corporations, not just some place where corporations can also choose to be (next to photos of users doing kegstands, as per conventional art social networking sites). A Galaxz profile (a Tilz) for every customer (supplanting aging, expensive, conventional art customer relationship management (CRM) software). For example, how often does that customer buy Tide detergent? (this is a known fact contained in each user's Galaxz profile, as users have a profile from everything in their life, including each box/bottle of detergent—which includes metadata such as purchase date/price/store bought at/etc.). How often does that customer receive coupons for Tide? (a known fact since coupons, represented by a Tilz, are part of a user's Galaxz, and which are attracted as like-content to their profile Tilz for their washing machine). How often does that customer user those coupons? How often does that customer do laundry? What stores are they buying their Tide at? etc. etc. Furthermore, each customer profile on Galaxz can be the conduit for interactions and transactions with that customer. The customer can be shown, for example, what revenue level they would need to reach to receive the next tier of pricing discounts. With Galaxz corporation (and other entities) have a complete view of their customer—and don't have to pay conventional art entities such as Oracle tens of millions of dollars for some overly complex system to manage CRM. Furthermore, the Tilz profile for each customer becomes the communication vehicle between the company and that customer, the ongoing relationship between the company and that customer.
  • [1322]
    There are also Galaxz Tilz for business processes. Galaxz Tilz that manifest for instance the implementation of six sigma manufacturing or the latest cost cutting objective or sales increase plan. Application data via a new model (that is to say, for instance, receive decentralized telematics data from every device used by that company's customers). The conventional art, by contrast, is Myspace, Amazon, Yahoo, etc. all featuring centralized information from centralized servers. Mobile. Social. Enterprise collaboration. Employees can collaborate with each other via Galaxz by having profile pages of what they're working on, pictures of their beta products, status updates as to what they just accomplished, etc.
  • [1323]
    In embodiments Galaxz works offline. User's Galaxz live on their mobile device or device of choice. Tilz sync when next connected to the Internet, directly or indirectly or connected to the master Tilz. In embodiments Galaxz works completely offline. Users can create profiles (Tilz) on various devices and share via Bluetooth, radio frequency (RF) or other means. Such profiles might not ever be hosted at a remote server. Profiles that exclusively live offline is an unique Galaxz feature. Not only for emerging markets which might have regions with limited wireless access, but also enables users (in all situations) to control who sees their content. And promotes the proliferation of devices which are highly capable, yet don't require wireless-carrier network service.
  • [1324]
    Galaxz Pro. Free is unfree. Content that some advertisers might find offensive is often removed from social networking sites (so the advertisers will keep paying for ads on that social network). In embodiments Galaxz Pro charges a monthly fee, wherein users can host their own affinity group, and be the “anything goes” of social networking: their rules, no censorship, etc. Galaxz Pro is also for government agencies. For example, let's say a user wants to send the police a copy of a threatening voicemail left on their phone. If the user's local police has Galaxz Pro, then the user can simply drag the voicemail Tilz onto the user's police profile Galaxz Tilz. And Galaxz Pro also supports completely anonymous or confidential submissions. Galaxz Pro enables the police to take a “report” without the time and expense of filing a formal report.
  • [1325]
    Galaxz Pro is also for corporate use. Corporations can keep client or customer profiles on Galaxz Pro (which are a confidential and secure way to interact with a company's clients or customers). For example, Safeway can set up a Galaxz pro profile for each of their Safeway Rewards Card users—where each user can view and manage their profile and rewards (and the type of offers they receive). Every company can manage each customer account via a Galaxz Pro profile. And customers can also access their account profile. This is far easier than conventional art Website customer-based information. With Galaxz Pro users keep a copy of their Tilz for each entity they transact with (for example, the automobile club, each magazine subscription, the electric/gas/power company, each credit card, etc.). Although each profile is managed by each company, a user can sign in to all profiles with a single Galaxz Pro login (cross-site functionality makes life much easier for the user). Furthermore, cross site functionality enables users (if they selectively surface some of their profiles to selected entities) get the best service at the best price. For example an American Automobile Club (AAA) car insurance user could make their AAA car insurance profile Tilz available to selected entities, such as State Farm Insurance, which could then pay the user to make a competitive bid for the user's car insurance business.
  • [1326]
    Analytics is an important business function that is growing ever more important as companies are groaning under the crushing weight of the mountainous information they can/do collect. Analytics software dives in and starts to make sense of all that information and product data. Data that reveals patterns. Data that reveals insights. The Galaxz platform enables third party software to be quickly developed using robust data-handling tools, and the sophisticated relational database upon which Galaxz is built. And users are in total control of their data at all times.
  • [1327]
    Users get paid (by participating in the revenue their profile generates). Users can post “resume” Tilz, such as a climbing resume, speaking engagement resume, cycling resume, vacation resume, etc. Galaxz then enables companies to pay the user to make offers (if the user wishes to receive same): for a climbing resume user can choose to receive climbing magazine subscription offers or climbing gear ads; cycling resume—user can receive bike offers. Vacation resume: user can receive hotel deals. Tilz organizes information in a way that is better and clearer for the user; and easier to sell access to information to others who pay the user. Galaxz can be any layout or size, shape, design, etc. Users can express their personality via the unique features of their Galaxz Tilz.
  • [1328]
    Captive audience screens. Wherever there might be a captive audience screen (such as at a gas station pump, or in an elevator), users can receive updates to their Tilz, including updates from friends/associates/businesses) and even get paid to receive offers as per their profiles. AppSkins are sub-applications that are basically skins (subsets) of Galaxz Tilz information. In embodiments Galaxz powers smaller, focused niche applications which will appear to users as separate applications, and which can gain their own popularity within their niche community. For instance, a map-based social networking site, which enables pet owners to populate an online map with the names of their pets. Which is a subset of that pet owner's main Galaxz Tilz. People who walk their dogs in the morning could use this site's Galaxz Tilz, to recognize the names of other dogs (and their owners) as they pass by. It is actually the Galaxz Tilz for each pet, mashed up with a map service, as the construct for displaying Tilz information. People can post a Key Picture of their pet, and then continue to add other photos, videos, written posts, status updates, etc. for their pet. Pet owners can optionally add their first names to the map-based social networking site profile, to enable neighbors to greet them by name when walking their dog. People can also get in touch with each other to trade dog sitting, invite others to doggie romps/parties, etc. This map-based social networking site doesn't actually live anywhere . . . it just appears and interacts with the user's CloudCast. That is to say it is an ad hoc social network that forms itself on demand, then dissolves when not in use. It forms itself from Tilz that already exist on Galaxz.
  • [1329]
    Galaxz is also a monetization engine. For example, every house has its own Galaxz Tilz. It's unlikely with conventional art social networks that any given user's house has its own profile on a social networking site. But for Galaxz users, it is de rigueur. A Galaxz user's house has its own ComCloud (Facility 23) for its contents: every single item in the house, such as every knife, fork, spoon, table, chair, mirror, lamp, painting, article of clothing, item of food, light bulb, carpeting, appliance, each item of sports equipment, literally a Tilz for every single individual items, down to the type of paint on the walls and each plant in the yard. In addition, the house ComCloud might feature garage sale items (stuff, for instance, in the garage the user would like to sell). Other information such as the entire history of sales prices for that property (and property taxes). All sales marketing photos used by realtors each time the house was put up for sale. Etc. etc. All items and services, associated with that house, can be CloudCast for commission—that is to say, if someone wants any of the Tilz in the house CloudCast, they can be acquired for free or for a fee, and if that person then goes on to but that product or use that service, the homeowner may receive a commission. House CloudCast contents might include the house's architect—for those user's who pass by that property, and are interested in perhaps having that architect design a home for them (this information is not available by current search engines or social networking sites). The house CloudCast might include the name of the builder of this property, or past real estate agents for this property. The gardener's profile Tilz (in case passersby like the look of the garden, and might want to hire the gardener to do their yard as well). The designer of the custom entry gate (for those individuals who pass by and might want the gate designer to design a gate for them. Etc. etc. All of the preceding information is available via downloadable Tilz, Tilz which comprise that house's Galaxz.
  • [1330]
    Users can add all their various household items (appliances, name of the countertop supplier, bedding manufacturer and which store the user bought it in, et. al.) to their house's Galaxz. These profiles are worth money and users who wish, get paid to receive ads/offers/information/etc. related to anything in their house's Galaxz. For example, let's say a user owns a JennAir Model 100 refrigerator. The user pulls the JennAir Model 1000 Tilz into the user's Galaxz (say by scanning the barcode (Facility 31) with their mobile device or automatically via IP-based RFID (Facility 33). The JennAir Tilz is sorted (Facility 8) to the user's house ComCloud (Facility 23), or sent to the user's TV (via Mobi Homi Docking Station Pro) which can act as the data hub or server for the household. The user now receives live recall alerts. In case of a defect, for example, all Tilz holders are notified. The user gets paid to allow certified installers and/or repair technicians to serve offers. The user can pull the Tilz into the user's Galaxz if the user purchased the JennAir online Installers can pay the user to send offers to deliver and install the refrigerator. Telematics data is captured and transmitted via RFIP (or other means) to a user's mobile handset (Mobi, or other device) which informs the Galaxz Tilz for that user's JennAir. Users can get paid to allow certified repair technicians to view that user's JennAir Galaxz Tilz. So, say a repair technician who is working on another JennAir in that user's neighborhood can make an offer to stop by and fix the user's JennAir cooling unit and discount the repair person's normal $80 service fee to just $10 plus the cost to fix the cooling unit. (By way of comparison, consider for example, how much time CEOs of conventional art social networks thinks about how much money they can make for their users. Perhaps users will want to move to a new social network, such as Galaxz where users are in charge of their own profile, and focuses its attention on thinking about new ways for users to get paid, since Galaxz only gets paid when users get paid). Offers are sent to any of a user's devices (as per user's profile). For example, repair offers can be sent to a user's TV, or PC or mobile device, according to the user's Web Pref profile (Facility 20). At the end of the expected useful life (EOL) for that JennAir refrigerator, the user gets paid again by entities that can supply a new refrigerator. The end date of expected useful life (EOL) is known, and can be made available to retailers automatically for those who pay the user view the user's Appliance Galaxz. As now is the time to replace the old refrigerator with a new one, retailers pay the user to send offers to sell new refrigerators.
  • [1331]
    Every business has its own Galaxz. Every product of that business has a Galaxz Tilz, every stock-keeping unit (SKU), every customer, every supplier, et. al. and can profit in way similar to the house Galaxz example above. Companies can utilize Galaxz to surface their entire inventory directly to customers via a virtual glass warehouse. Which not only benefits users who can see it the items they seek are in stock, but also companies which can offer items for sale without necessarily having to stock them in their bricks and mortar stores. And the glass warehouse one user sees will be different from another user as the virtual stores changes according to each user's profile. A company's entire inventory can be managed on Galaxz. No longer do companies require expensive difficult to install and maintain conventional art enterprise level software solutions. Any size company can manage all their information needs via Tilz which live on Galaxz. And can be accessed via lightweight equipment such as mobile devices. Galaxz will become the foundation for the next generation of enterprise applications (sales automation, human resources, database, etc.)
  • [1332]
    Galaxz may also be used in other ways. For example, people may simply address items (letters, packages, email, etc.) to the business or house, without needing to know the recipient's name. Senders simply drag the Tilz of the item they are sending onto the recipient's Galaxz Tilz, and it may be delivered to the recipient.
  • [1333]
    Galaxz is built from the ground up with the intention of being the transaction engine of the world. All the parties in the value chain of a transaction can use Galaxz to track the transaction. If the transactions involves say the purchase and shipping of an item, people/companies get their cues to commence their portion of the transaction from a transaction Tilz being dragged onto their department's Tilz (pull an item from inventory, schedule United Parcel Service (UPS) shipping, etc.). Another example, if a user is making a purchase on their phone of an item for a friend, they simply drag that item (say, the Tilz for a hat they wanted) onto the friend's Galaxz Tilz and the item will be delivered. Yet the friend's address need never be revealed to the company selling the item. And if the friend is on vacation in Italy, the item can be delivered to them there without the user having to know the friend's whereabouts. Galaxz enables transactions to have the asynchronous flexibility that email affords vs say a phone call (where both parties have to be ready to communicate at the same time).
  • [1334]
    Planets are affinity groups within Galaxz, and can form almost spontaneously. Such affinity groups might include soccer fans, bird watchers, etc. In the same way that Spherez (a navigation and storage facility consisting of multi-faceted spheres onto which Tilz are mapped) automatically pull additional related content Tilz to them, planets have “gravity” and also pull related content to them. Each time a user visits a particular, the user might notice that the planet may have updated and morphed since the user was there last.
  • [1335]
    The contrasts between Galaxz and other profile parking sites (social networking sites, business networking sites, etc.) are legion. With Galaxz users are in control of their profile. Only on Galaxz are users in full control of their profile. Everything from privacy (that only user's set) to having a partner to help monetize their Galaxz profiles. With conventional art social networking sites advertisers and tracking companies are spying on users. Galaxz cuts out the middlemen, and puts the advertiser directly in touch with users. Thus there are no need for the current crop of tracking companies. Galaxz gets paid when users get paid. Unlike conventional are social networking sites which gets paid all day long, but users get nothing. All sorts of entities are making money off users' profiles, but not paying users. And with or without middlemen Galaxz users are in charge of their own profile and thus make all decisions regarding its use. Including privacy related concerns.
  • [1336]
    The market that Galaxz is addressing (every thing on earth having its own Tilz) is enormous, and several orders of magnitude larger than the earth's human population. Galaxz was primarily designed to facilitate real world interactions. And being able to interact with other users' ComClouds is a vastly superior way to socialize and monetize and interact and transact. Galaxz rests on the tenet that it is the profiles of the users which are of value (profiles=currency) and thus Galaxz pays users by helping monetize the users' profiles (for those users who wish such monetization). There is a Galaxz Tilz for everything. Every object on earth. Every living thing on earth. Including plants and animals. Every person. Every idea. Every intention. Every wish. Thus all the stuff a user owns, the things a user interacts with, people the user knows, pets, future intentions, wishes, etc. comprise that user's Galaxz. And with Galaxz the user can now carry the user's Galaxz literally in the palm of the user's hand. And make connections thereby in the real world. And sell the user's stuff. Automatically. And conduct searches. Without lifting a finger. And do everything the user wishes to do in their life, via Galaxz. And with Galaxz, the user is in control.
  • Facility 6 Knowledge Sharing and Monetization Facility
  • [1337]
    5106
  • [1338]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates knowledge management and monetization (hereafter “Hosted Everything”) is provided. Hosted Everything is a simple way for users to monetize their passionate expertise, and save others countless hours not having to become a mini-expert for tasks they face. For example, once a user purchases a product, that product needs maintenance and repair and eventually replacement. When a product needs maintenance/repair, the user has to take the time to become knowledgeable about honest and capable maintenance/repair providers. When a product needs replacement, the user has to take the time to become knowledgeable about subsequent generations of that product versus competitive products in the marketplace. It would be desirable if there were a passionate expert, to whom a user could turn, that could guide the user through the maintenance/repair and/or replacement processes.
  • [1339]
    The prospect of having to find a repair person who won't rip the user off is a burden. When it's time for replacement the user needs to find several pieces of information: who has the lowest price; if the user utilizes an online site, how does the user return an appliance? For which products does it makes sense to purchase an extended warranty. etc. etc. It just becomes a big hassle. People repair and replace products billions of times each year, so a better mechanism for doing so is desirable. Hosted Everything is that better mechanism and more.
  • [1340]
    In short, the user has to expend time “managing” each of the products they own. It would be advantageous if product owners could rely on the advice and expertise of others whose passion is that product. And even let them handle the “management” of some or all of a user's products. For example, let's say a user is a Honda Civic owner. That user could join the Honda Tires Hosted Everything. Then the passionate expert running that Hosted Everything group continuously monitors tire developments for the new brands, or models of tires, that best fit various needs. And when the user needs tires, the user is already part of a large group of users who have two things necessary for the user to get the best deal: 1) expert knowledge; and 2) buying power (because of the, say, thousands of others in the Honda Tires Hosted Everything group). The user can rest easy in the knowledge that the user got the best price and the user didn't have to lift a finger to accomplish this task. And there are Hosted Everythings for other life tasks too.
  • [1341]
    Almost everyone has at least one area of expertise/passion. With Hosted Everything there's a simple way to get paid to share that expertise with others. Users can turn their hobby into a source of income. Passionomics. There are almost 5 billion potential users for Hosted Everything, each of whom have differing tastes as to what they like. So within categories, there will be numerous, differing “drivers” and with differing sets of “riders” or followers. And conveniently, by self-selecting into these various groups and sub-groups it's very easy for advertisers to reach focused audiences.
  • [1342]
    As per the conventional art, users need to become experts over and over again for every transaction, and for every location. If a user moves to a new city, they have to perform the same solutions seek for this new area. For example, kitchen appliances. When a user purchases kitchen appliances, the user might spend ten hours looking through ads, magazines, calling friends, doing online research, etc. trying to become an expert on which brands of appliances to buy, and where to get the best deal (price, speed and quality of installation, etc.). If there were an “expert” in kitchen appliances whose list you could subscribe to who knew that, for instance, Sub Zero was about to come out with a new model, which means the current model is quietly being discounted, and that a local hotel supply company has great deals on Sub Z's. It could be an appliance repair person—with a great deal of domain knowledge. Via Hosted Everything that repair person has a way to monetize their knowledge. Perhaps eventually replacing their current income stream.
  • [1343]
    Let's say there's a person who is completely into car tires and has become something of an expert over the years. This person keeps track of the latest innovations by tire manufacturers, and which tire for which car a user should get. This car tire expert also tracks where the best deals are, including virtual car tire suppliers who ship tires to a local tire shop for installation. Such an expert could easily shave $50 to $100 off a $1000 tire transaction. With Hosted Everything this car tire expert could build a nice little business. Via Hosted Everything the tire expert creates a list with all his tire recommendations. Interested users subscribe for, say, 50 cents per month which is about $18 every 3 years (which is about the frequency of tire purchases). The tire expert might also get a 5% commission on each tire sale and installation, which is about $50 per transaction. If this tire expert had 1,000 list subscribers that equals almost $2,000/month income. There are about 1 billion tire purchasers in the world, which equals 1 million potential lists or businesses of 1,000 users each. And there are thousands and thousands of goods and services, each of which could have expert, list-based businesses around it. Hosted Everything could change the lives of hundreds of millions of people who can make businesses right in their own town or country, using the knowledge built up around their passion.
  • [1344]
    Hosted Everything aggregates large numbers of users, who want to find expert advice on any of thousands of subjects. In addition, Hosted Everything facilitates demand aggregation, backend hosting, transaction processing, and customer interaction tools, etc. presenting a turn key solution to users. Hosted Everything also publishes corporate information system application programming interfaces (APIs).
  • [1345]
    Companies can utilize Hosted Everything to offer products as services. For example, General Electric (GE) can monitor a user's Home Inventory ComCloud (Facility 23) and when replacement light bulbs are necessary, can offer to have them delivered and/or sold by Home Depot or other retailers.
  • [1346]
    Other uses for Hosted Everything include knowledge distillation. There's too much information out there. Hosted Everything is a resource for people, who take the time to distill the avalanche of information, and deliver the cross-content (text, an pictures, and video, as well as offline items), Cliff Notes version. For example, TV/movie/music “programmers” who distill the rapidly growing number of options for enjoying content into a usable stream to which others can subscribe. There are so many TV channels and TV shows, delivered via various means, that a user needs a TV whisperer. As an alternative to a music subscription service, there might be a real person to point users to the right services to subscribe to. Advise when to rent to and when to buy content. And to find discounted tickets to live evens (for each music genre), trade music memorabilia, indie content, emerging artist playing at a local coffee shop. All information is location-based, and affinity group sorted. A users' local music scene expert can run a mini-business off his or her knowledge. Hosted vitamins. There are too many vitamins to choose from. Too many places to buy from. Follow a trusted expert, and have the right set of vitamins delivered to the door for less than the user could purchase them himself, and without spending dozens of hours each year trying to keep abreast of the latest advancements in vitamins, and the new companies that can deliver them. Food (organic diet, vegetarian diet, Atkins diet, etc.). What to buy and where to purchase it locally. Discounts on books and videos, and plan memberships. Beauty products. There's such as dizzying array of beauty products. And so many different uses for makeup. Which ones are right for you? Are any of the beauty products shown on late night TV any good? How about European products? Does paying for expensive products mean the user will get better results? Should users purchase direct from each manufacturer? Are products at discount drug stores as fresh as those available online? Follow a guide or concierge or critic that fits the user's style. The products are then delivered to the user (or made available by other means). Car customizing products. Where can users find the hard-to-find parts? How to get in touch with local car customizing clubs. Home electronics. So many TVs and computers and gadgets come out each year. Which are right for a given user? Should the user buy now or wait six months for the new model? Can wrap discounted prices and delivery, into a Hosted Everything experience. What's for dinner (various price points). This becomes a chore faces by almost every family. Yet there are always some people who just love coming up with recipes and meal plans, that fit various user's tastes and budget. Wrap up those recipes with grocery lists, or even have those groceries delivered to the user's home, and the recipe Tilz delivered to the user's mobile device or TV. Which wax should a user purchase for their car? Is it better to purchase a wax that claims to last for a whole year? Will rubbing compound remove not just the dirt, but ruin my finish? On and on it goes. For every decision regarding every product and service a user encounters in their life. A user might be an expert at what they do all day at work, where can they find the “experts” for all the other decisions a user has to make in their life? That's what Hosted Everything is for. And those experts can now monetize the knowledge they've amassed pursuing their passion.
  • [1347]
    Hosted Everything is a simple way to turn a person's knowledge into money. Informed experts can create a following via Hosted Everything Users benefit from the expertise of others in making day to day life decisions and from having a group of users which can command, via Hosted Everything, discount pricing for related products and services. And these self-selected groups focused on a particular product, service, concept, makes it easier for advertisers to target (but only as per user's profile). The mobile device revolution is going to change forever thousands of industries which will soon need new ways of reaching, interacting with, and transacting with customers. One of those ways will be via informed experts who have a following on Hosted Everything. And the followers get paid to receive ads and offers and additional information. Hosted Everything is a win/win/win for all three parties in the value chain. The product manufacturer (or service provider) can more easily interact and transact with focused audiences of interested users. Passionate experts have a new way to monetize their knowledge. And users benefit by making informed decisions in less time and acquire the best products and services at a lower cost. Hosted Everything is a next generation platform for individuals and businesses to create new sources of income.
  • Facility 7 Electronic Currency Facility
  • [1348]
    5107
  • [1349]
    In embodiments, an electronic currency (hereafter “iDough”) module is provided. iDough is a novel micropayment e-currency, created from the ground up with users first. iDough is a credits based system that keeps a realtime running tabulation of the user's credits and debits. Users may soon be partaking in hundreds of micro transactions each day, for which an electronic currency is required. As users get paid (perhaps tenths or hundredths of a penny in some cases) to surface their various profiles to selected interested parties, a mobile micropayment method is desired. iDough may also act as the micropayment front end for existing conventional art payment systems such as Credit Cards—and is thus a way for legacy players to get into the micropayment field. And iDough users get paid to receive ads or offers, or share profiles, related to that transaction. With iDough as their payment system, users can be made aware of ways to improve their transaction experience. iDough monetizes users' transactions. Merchants benefit by lower transaction fees. Instead of taking transaction fees from every transaction, users receive credits/debits which are redeemed upon set thresholds—which may be reached, for example, only after tens or hundreds of transactions. iDough only disperse funds, upon a set threshold. Users will only get paid (or pay funds due) when their iDough account reaches a set threshold, such as $10. It's at that dispersal points that iDough and ecosystem partners (device manufacturer, operating system provider, network provider, etc.) get paid. iDough simply keeps a running tabulation of each registered user's credits and debits. If the net amount due to the user or owed to the user reaches $10, then iDough credits or debits that user's credit/debit card or bank account (or other) $9. $10 minus a 10% transaction fee for iDough and it's partners.
  • [1350]
    iDough enables users to trade debits or credits to lower redemptions or rebuys (for a 5% fee to iDough). iDough also acts as an exchange between payors and payees. If a person is close to a redemption and needs to soon put in another $10, they could seek out someone with credits to exchange, which would put them back below the redemption point. This mechanism saves users money. 5% commissions for credit exchanges vs 10% commission for redemptions or rebuys. Chargebacks are not allowed. Initially once an amount is debited or credited those monies cannot be charged back to the user's account (except in case of errors). Service fee-based chargebacks may be allowed in the future, in the form of a $15% “restocking” fee. All transactions are non-refundable. Since initially these are mostly micropayments its not a major concern. Refunds may eventually be allowed however, iDough may choose to impose a service fee. To avoid non-payment iDough puts a $10 (or other threshold amount) hold on user's credit card. iDough utilizes any available frequency to conduct transactions, and a network is not always needed. If a network connection is not available, iDough stores the transaction on the user's devices as “pending until connect.” Additionally, any other user within range may provide the connection for two iDough users to complete their transaction. That is to say, two users without an Internet connection can rely anonymously on another nearby user (or someone they come near to later) to anonymously send the iDough transaction to the iDough servers (for which the anonymous sender may be paid a fee). iDough is integrated into most of the Mobi facilities. iDough can also turn paper checks into e-checks. Users just fill in the amounts on the paper check, add the iDough to that check's ComCloud (Facility 23), and that check becomes a form of instant currency that users can “accept” right away without having to wait several days for the check to clear. Also, users don't need to take pictures of the a check and send the pictures to their bank as the means to deposit the check. When the check's ComCloud is connected to the bank, directly or asynchronously, the check is deposited and funds are moved from the check writer's account to the check receiver's account.
  • [1351]
    iDough can be used as a postage stamp. The user simply adds the iDough credit (equal to the required postage) to the ComCloud for the letter or package. When the ComCloud for that letter or package is scanned the stamp will appear on any user's device. Additionally, the “stamp” itself can be a sponsored image; for example, an image depicting a new movie release, further reducing the cost to the user (or paying for iDough's transaction commission).
  • [1352]
    Payments may be made using any currency, at exchange rates as per the iDough terms and conditions agreement, including any sovereign foreign currency. User's airline miles. In embodiments iDough is a clearinghouse for third parties to make markets in items such as airline miles—setting the current rate users are willing to turn miles into iDough credits. Reward program points can be utilized to pay other people or businesses. Other people's money: others can loan a user credit or debit, as needed (say, for instance, to avoid a redemption event). Micro loans. Banks can work with iDough's exchange as a way to dip their toes into the micro loan business, utilizing some of the billions in deposits they take in each day, and turning them into micro loans. Pending rebates. Users, for instance, awaiting a $2 rebate from an ink purchase, can place their pending rebate into the iDough system and see what someone else is willing to exchange for it. Structured settlements can be placed into the iDough exchange, to see what discount other parties are willing to pay for that future income stream. Individual annuity payments can be monetized immediately via the iDough exchange.
  • [1353]
    Branded iDough. There are a plurality of forms of branded iDough. For example, one that utilizes a sell-through model. Establish iDough accounts, as an automatic companion to existing payment methods. For instance, open a Bank of America checking account, get an iDough account. And companies such as Visa, MasterCard, and AMEX can start to extend their brands and move into the electronic credits space. Starting first with money, for example, “Visa iDough.” Users who are unfamiliar with credits, may be more likely to utilize them when co-branded with Visa. Additionally, Visa, Mastercard and AMEX should start thinking about moving beyond the traditional payment processing role, into e-currency, e-credits, credits in videogames, and things such as mileage programs, hotel rewards points systems, and even coupons. And finally, and most importantly of all, since profiles=currency, Visa, MasterCard and AMEX most certainly should get into the profile space.
  • [1354]
    Virtual ATM. The days of physical automatic teller machines (ATMs) are numbered. Via iDough, banks can set up virtual ATMs enabling users to receive or deposit checks and money anytime, anywhere. iDough's virtual ATMs can also be set up by credit and debit card issuers, as well as financial institutions such as brokerage firms.
  • [1355]
    New forms of online and offline interaction and transaction demand a new form of currency that facilitates micropayments. iDough is that micropayment platform.
  • Facility 8 Information Management Facility
  • [1356]
    5108
  • [1357]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates data organization (hereafter “Sorto”) is provided. Many users are drowning in data overload. Accordingly a tool is desired to sort the vast ocean of information coming a user's way. Sorto is a next generation file system. Sorto goes beyond the two-dimensional conventional art file systems, and even beyond conventional art relational databases. Sorto is actually four dimensional, including time and location notifiers for the data “tiles” aka the homonym “Tilz” (Facility 30). Sorto sorts and stores data (the information and/or Tilz) in such a way that it can be automatically surfaced where and when the user needs it or wants it (or could conceivably find it useful), in-situ, in-context. And corporate uses for Sorto include keeping information sorted by project, across various teams, across the globe.
  • [1358]
    Sorto is the other half of search. The more important half of search. Turns search into cash . . . for users. And Advertising is revolutionized. Currently search engines get paid (among various ways) for sorting content into keyword groups. With Sorto when users sort their online search results, as well as the results of their offline searching, the users get paid.
  • [1359]
    Now that you've found it (search), where do you put it? (the missing half of the search equation). Users are being inundated with information. Sorto provides ordo ab chao (order from chaos). Sorto organizes users' data. Scan a tea kettle at Target, and Sorto can place the resultant tea kettle Tilz into the user's Christmas Gifts VictorsList (Facility 18) (or other user desired location). Users scan barcodes/RFIDs all day. All of these items inform and make richer that user's profiles. Sorto sorts the resultant Tilz into their logical place(s). Users get paid, to allow ads/offers related to each sort topic. For example, once a number of items are scanned into a user's Christmas Gift List, then retailers know the user wishes to purchase those items and can pay the user to send offers to sell those items to the user.
  • [1360]
    Conventional art search results are not transactable. That's why Mobi search results are in Tilz form—Tilz are transactable objects. Thus, when users search with uTag search (Facility 16) or scan barcodes/RFID, the users are presented with Tilz. The Tilz construct is essential. Tilz gives advertisers an object to target—either for (complimentary ads) or against (competitive ads).
  • [1361]
    Sorto is a widget (Webified mini software application) or browser plugin, that moves with a user on their digital devices, and enables a user to mark content for sorting into various “lifetracks” or subjects. Mark and sort, not just Websites, photos, music, email, text messages, blog content, TV shows, but also items in physical stores and other tangible things.
  • [1362]
    Sorto creates a landing page (a tribe) for each lifetrack (or folder) for each of a user's passions: such as pickup basketball, or baseball, or hiking or traveling or food, et. al. Not only are lifetracks categories a vehicle for users to be paid (to receive ads/offers/information related to that topic), but also become the basis for users to interact with other tribe members, other users who are into hiking or traveling or food, etc. And users can show each other the Tilz they've collected for, say, hikes they want to do, or hiking boots or great water bottles or day packs, or trade pictures from hikes, or post videos of them reaching the top of the mountain, et. al. On the landing page are: blogs, forums, etc. A place where users can post questions and other users can post answers which are then rated. Highly rated question answerers are then dubbed Experts for that lifetrack (that tribe).
  • [1363]
    Users can make public (or semi-public) any of their lifetracks, and thereby get paid to receive related ads/offers. Consider the example of a soccer lifetrack. When the user comes across information about cleats, or soccer travel or team jerseys et. al. the user now has a place to put it. Anytime the user gets a Tilz of information related to soccer, Sorto sorts it into their Soccer lifetrack. Thus companies who wish to market their soccer related products or services now have something to aim at. And lifetrack information can be surfaced anonymously, without the user giving out any personally identifying information.
  • [1364]
    Because Sorto sorted the information for the user, Sorto also knows how to retrieve such information, and present it to the user in-situ, in-context when the user needs the information. Sorto is also profile-based, thus Sorto can present relevant information to the user, even information from third parties. Thus as Sorto is presenting information in-situ, in-context such information could come from third parties, some of whom might pay the user for priority data placement.
  • [1365]
    Sorto is also an application picker. As more and more widgets (Webified mini software applications) are written for the emerging mobile handset platform, users may accumulate a growing number of single purpose widgets. As this number grows, users may desire a convenient method for widget selection and switching. Sorto helps a user pick or choose from a user's widgets, the most appropriate widget for any given task. In embodiments, Sorto keeps track of a user's widgets and responds to the ComCloud (Facility 23) of the object or location the user in near, to suggest a widget to use. Sorto can also show the user the Sorto recommendations or reviews for apps that their friends or affinity experts for that field utilize in the particular situation. For example, Sorto surfaces hiking widgets (via, perhaps Survey Egg, Facility 39) when the user is at a County Park trailhead. And provide the following type of information: “You already own 4 hiking widgets. These 3 are OK, but this one is 5 stars for this park, and a portion of the proceeds goes to a fund to purchase future park land acquisition.
  • [1366]
    Sorto is also a widget store, helping user decide which of the widgets available to purchase. Vis Sorto widgets make their potential user known to users in situ, i.e. right where and when a user might want a coupon widget, or a comparison shopping widget, or a stock picking widget. If a user is visiting a brokerage Website the Website can let the user's mobile device know, that it is a financial services-related site. The site can let the user know if that site has a widget that the user can download, or can suggest related widgets (for a commission if they are paid widgets or for revenue share for free widgets—if there is a potential income component to the widget via such things as ads or transactions). And Sorto's widge store capabilities are not just online, but can also suggest widgets for sale in-situ in the physical world. Widget makers can make suer their content in on the Survey Egg (Facility 39) next to a travel monument in Egypt, or in a small village in Austria or on the phone of a person who lives in that village or on the network node near that physical location. Sorto levels the playing field for smaller widget makers as the widgets offered are not necessarily best sellers, but those widgets that best fit that user's particular profile. In embodiments users get paid to accept offers for widgets (paid widgets or free widgets) that might be of use to that user—and possibly to dislodge a user's #1 or “key” Tilz location on one their widget Spherez (a navigation and storage facility that consists of multi-faceted spheres onto which Tilz are mapped).
  • [1367]
    Users can socialize and share around their lifetracks. For instance, if a user has a butterflies lifetrack, they can make the Tilz in that lifetrack public and others with an interest in butterflies can comment as well as share their butterfly Tilz. In embodiments Sorto facilitates an online marketplace area to trade, buy and sell Sorto lifetrack Tilz. Users can get paid to let others subscribe to their lifetracks. A user who collects a beautifully curated set of photos, maps, information, videos, etc. that relate to butterflies, will likely attract a number of butterfly aficionados who would like to subscribe to that user's butterflies lifetrack (for free or for a fee). Public lifetracks can become the wilds for that subject, sorted by affinity group. Essentially the Sorto version of Wikipedia where thousands of lifetracks are assembled, and available for viewing by other users. And those other users can add content or comment.
  • [1368]
    Take for example a lifetrack dedicated to restoring a 1950 Chevy. The user utilizes Sorto to sort all the knowledge they acquire during the restoration: Websites, books, helpful feeds, names of other restorers, progress videos, stores where the user bought parts, video tips, etc. The more developed a lifetrack is, the more interest likely from advertisers to pay the user to place ads/offers in it. Advertisers for a car restoration lifetrack might include restoration car parts stores, Pennzoil, local custom paint shops. Lifetracks are a brand new place “terra nova” to do advertising, and monetize content. And are the other half of paid search. Instead of paying a conventional are search engine for the keywords “restoring 1950 Chevy,” advertisers can pay the users who assemble such lifetracks, knowing those lifetracks are viewed and used by Chevy restorers.
  • [1369]
    When a user searches for: “Tiger Woods' next tournament” Sorto knows, as per the user's profile, that the user wants to sort the answer Tilz into the user's DVR Shows to Record VictorsList. Whereupon paid ads can be served knowing the user will be watching during those four tournament days. And paid ads means the user gets paid by advertisers not only to view the user's profile, but also to serve ads to the user. Sorto takes the answers to search queries, and intelligently utilizes them to inform other applications or hardware for that user. For instance, to automatically ensure a certain program is recorded by that user's DVR. Sorto powers a user's LifeFlow (in a manner similar to the way Sorto powers a user's workflow).
  • [1370]
    Searches are saved as Tilz. Search for “flat screen TV” and Sorto knows, as per the user's profile, the user wants to sort the answer Tilz into Buy Soon shopping list; and now paid bids can be accepted for the best prices on flat screen TVs. Note: paid bids, not just paid ads. Users can get paid to receive bids from merchants to sell that TV for the lowest price. With conventional art search engines, users don't save searches, they perform the same search over and over again; while the search engine gets paid over and over again. With Sorto, searches are saved into Tilz, and into lifetracks, thus ads have a place to land (and users get paid).
  • [1371]
    When a user scans an item, say a lightbulb, with a mobile device, Sorto pops up and, in embodiments, asks: “Are you buying, selling, or throwing out the lightbulb?” If the user is throwing out the bulb, Sorto checks the user's Household Inventory VictorsList. In embodiments, if there is a need for more bulbs, Sorto adds the item to the user's Shopping List VictorsList, which automatically solicits bids for six lightbulbs, delivered or Sorto contacts Ad Widge (Facility 1) seeking information or ads about competitive bulbs, or contacts Coupon Widge (Facility 2) for discounts for replacements for the scanned bulb.
  • [1372]
    Sorto tracks and adds future tags. If more tags apply to a Tilz in the future, Sorto adds those tags and the user's content is available in those new tag sites. For example, let's say there's an article in the paper about connecting three existing trail segments with a new $2 million municipal trail segment. As per the conventional art, it's just an article a user reads once. With Sorto, however, the article lives on in usefulness in a user's real life. Sorto pulls additional information and seeks widgets that enhance the information in user's oSorted data stacks: such as their lifetracks and Tilz. And article about connecting three trails should have a map mashup with the new section of trail highlighted and information about how to donate to trails fundraisers. The newspaper gets paid if the user donates. Sorto provides the user an alert for future votes on bond measures for trail funds. In this example if there is a ballot measure in the future for trails funds, Sorto will add the tag “trails fundraising” to the article about the $2 million municipal trail segment, as well as include the Proximity Alert for personal navigation systems (such as mobile devices or cars) which sounds when an interested user is near such a trail. If a user house shops in that area their navigation system alerts the users to homes near the new/existing municipal trails mentioned in the article; information which could inform a user's home buying decision.
  • [1373]
    Sorts serves as the “artificial intelligence” that informs uTag searches (Facility 16); and Sorto delivers user-specific intelligence capabilities. Charities, non-profits and fundraisers often pay up to 30% commissions for fundraising. If a user who read the article regarding the new $2 million trail segment, went on to donate to a trails fundraising organization, the newspaper might be in line to receive a substantial commission. The magnitude of this one Sorto-enabled commission alone, could change the economics for struggling periodicals.
  • [1374]
    With Sorto users can bookmark all of a user's digital and offline content. For example, if a users is in Macy's department store, and found a shirt they liked, they could bookmark it with Sorto (scan the barcode, receive the Tilz for the shirt, and Sorto sorts the Tilz into the appropriate profile, such as Clothing Wish List). Sorto has so many uses and will be utilized in so many different ways by different users that just one tagline is not enough: mark, track, sort; mark, sort, manage; digital data triage; digital content triage; synchronize, organize, evangelize; synchronize, organize, monetize; glamorize, summarize, monetize. My Cookiez (Facility 26) enables these various taglines to be to be displayed to different users depending upon the profile of the user.
  • [1375]
    In addition to users getting paid to receive related ads and offers, a premium paid version of Sorto stores content on Sorto servers. As with the other Mobi Facilities, with the free version of the facility, data is stored on the user's mobile device and synced to their other devices, and backed up on their Mobi Homi (docking station pro). With a paid version of a facility, data is stored on remote servers. Corporate Sorto and Pro Sorto have additional security features such as management, monitoring, remote data wipe, disaster recovery, etc. Premium (for fee) Sorto templates are available for sorting, organizing, and glamorizing content. Sorto surfaces contextually appropriate widgets based upon a number of factors such as: a user's location (museum guide widget), the task the user is currently engaged in (photo editing widget), and opportunistically, as per the user's profile regarding things a user likes or likes to do. Widgets that for instance related to a user's work, fun, family, hobbies, etc. are presented to the user via Sort as a very focused mini widget emporium. Users get paid to accept in-context demo widgets from developers right at the moment a user would need them, with Sorto conveying how that widget would help the user or be fun for the user to utilize in that situation. A beer widget when at a bar, or a home improvement widget when at Home Depot. Sorto also supports sponsored lifetracks (Nike's soccer lifetrack), and lifetrack subscriptions. Users subscribe to topics they are interested in (such as bird watching), and in particular those lifetracks that have been organized and presented in the coolest way about that topic. Sorto also supports sponsored Tilz within lifetracks. So if a user has a lifetrack dedicated to photography, and has gathered Tilz regarding cameras, photo editing software, photographic travel safaris, photography books, etc. advertisers such as Canon (which makes cameras) could pay the user to put a Canon camera ad Tilz, a Tilzvertisement, into that user's photography lifetrack (which is a collection of Tilz). In embodiments there are three dimensional worlds, virtual worlds, dedicated to various lifetracks. For a soccer lifetrack as a person moves about in the real world they see an overlay that highlights products, businesses, locations, people, pictures, movies, music, etc. that relate to soccer for the exact location where the user currently is. Alternatively the overlays can be mashed up onto various digital maps that the user is currently viewing. For example, when the user is getting driving directions to the dentist, the map or navigation system can highlight a store that the user is driving by that is having a sale on soccer cleats.
  • [1376]
    Sorto is much more than a simple organizational tool, it takes social networking to the next level. Users can now interact with those who share their same passions, without having to inundate these new virtual buddies with all the other social detritus of their life, ala conventional art social networking sites. As users take in information from search or from their real world interactions (in the form of Tilz) Sorto solves the problem of what to do with all that information. By organizing the information into lifetracks advertisers have a focused entity to aim their ads and offers at. And pay the users to receive such ads and offers. With Sorto advertisers have direct contact with their customers with far more accuracy and for far less cost than via conventional art search/advertising modalities. And users benefit by having the ocean of information that is salient to their life organized and sorted for them.
  • Facility 9
  • [1377]
    VOIP communication facility
    5109
  • [1378]
    In embodiments, a module that facilitates voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) communications (hereafter “Phone Widge”) is provided. Phone Widge enables users to make and receive VOIP communications from a plurality of digital devices, including the (Mobi) mobile handset. Caller and receiver don't need the same IP phone service provider. Phone Widge enables users to make/receive calls from a user's TV (via the set top box running Phone Widge software or by other means). Users can make/receive calls from Tilz. A reverse cookie packet (My Cookiez Facility 26) informs nearby digital devices as to the IP address the user is accepting calls on at that time. Users can choose to get paid to accept ads/offers via phone. And Phone Widge and its partners (which may include the handset maker and/or network provider) get paid for transactions made during calls.
  • [1379]
    Cable TV companies and satellite TV providers can, via Phone Widge, enter the wireless phone business without having to build a network. Phone Widge enables wireless carriers to offer their own branded IP phone service, that functions much more like traditional landline phone service wherein users don't have to know the call recipient's IP/POTS (Internet protocol/plain old telephone service) phone service provider. Users can make calls from a plurality of digital devices to any digital device or landline or cellular phone. A user can accept a phone call on their mobile device, or on their PC, or on their TV, and their CloudCast (Facility 23) directs that incoming communication to the desired device. So, for example, a user walks into their house and for awhile accepts calls on their mobile handset. When they are at their PC all calls could be routed there. And when watching TV, all calls routed there. Senders no longer have to remember a recipient's phone number, email address, instant message (IM) screen name, etc. they can direct all contact the person's mobile (Mobi) IP address. Uses can have separate work and home IP addresses, and they can change IP addresses every few weeks if a user wishes. Phone Widge includes all the conventional art calling features and adds features such as shareable, unlimited blocked numbers list (VictorsList Facility 18). Users can share/chat/blog with others receiving unwanted calls. Phone Widge is Web Pref (Facility 20) compatible; thus users can remain invisible to some, or all, callers. Phone Widge provides alphanumeric phone number translation (e.g. 1-800-FLOWERS is translated into the actual digits to be dialed). Users can choose to get paid to accept ads and offers via phone can reduce the cost (if any) for user's calls.
  • [1380]
    Users can communicate via Tilz (Facility 30), such as when they are using their contact manager Tactilz (Facility 13) or networking facility Galaxz (Facility 5) or phonebook facility Phonebook Widge (Facility 10). When a user is utilizing a Tilz, they don't have to quit (or switch away from) the Tilz, and open a telephone widget, instead they can establish a plurality of communication modalities directly from within Tilz. Phone Widge technology enables far more user friendly communications, powered by technologies that include: Multi com modes (cellular, VOIP, Web meeting, email, etc); Multi-service IP (simultaneous multi-service IP communications capability. For instance, a user can make a call from one VOIP provider's service to another person using a different VOIP service); Multi-protocol (MSN, Yahoo!, etc. XMPP (extensible messaging and presence protocol—open XML. Additionally, with Phone Widge users can make calls in new ways. Such as Bluetooth to existing landlines and/or via dark fiber and/or via cable lines and/or via satellite. Phone Widge provides a path for corporations to move off their legacy PBX phone systems to the IP phone services market. With all the features accessible via new phone handsets—the Mobi mobile handset, not just the big, ugly conventional art desk phones typical of legacy corporate phone systems.); Multi-session (Phone Widge enables the user to make several “calls” simultaneously. Every session owns a single thread for each process. Phone Widge manages session quality, capacity, and availability. Users have the ability to have numerous simultaneous phone calls at once. Job site managers, for instance, can have open lines to each of their direct reports plus be able to take incoming calls from suppliers or family members. Phone Widge's multi-session technology combines the best features of older push-to-talk systems with more modern IP communications, in a voice, video and text communications trifecta.); Multi-OS (across the varying operating systems, both mobile and PC); Multi-radio devices (WiFi, ethernet, 3G, POTS, et. al. Users no longer have to make carrier or technology-based decisions for their communications. Phone Widge soft radio and translation technology ensures that users will be able to connect to and from most any network available); Unified IP addressing (contact a user at a single IP address: the mobile device knows where to send calls, chat, messaging, email, etc. via the user's My Cookiez or ComCloud profile).
  • [1381]
    Unlike conventional art VOIP systems/services, Phone Widge provides VOIP calling that interoperates with landline phone systems and dark fiber. Phone Widge enables traffic to be offloaded onto landline phone lines, or the currently multitudinous dark fiber, in preference to wireless carrier network or other means. Phone Widge enables current landline phone companies to turn a portion of their existing lines into voice over IP lines. Moves traffic off wireless networks and onto available landlines. Landline companies are losing accounts each month, as people move to wireless instead. Phone Widge can provide a much needed return on that huge capital investment (their landline phone infrastructure). Phone Widge utilizes VOIP or wireless for limited distances, then offloads the call to the closest available landline. WebDrops (a Mobi embodiment, that (among other functions) facilitates traffic routing from, say, wireless networks to landline or fiber optic networks) are smart, and continuously monitor their line's availability, and CloudCast that availability to nearby mobile handsets and/or cell towers, offering that availability to handoff the call. This unique algorithmic solution is not being employed in the industry today. Webdrops topology/systems also improve call reliability. Landline owners are incentivized to utilize Phone Widge technology because they'll share in any software, services and/or transaction revenue that takes place over their landline. Phone Widge moves voice and/or data traffic onto fiber from Mobi devices (and other devices) as soon as possible via the nearest WebDrop, such as a Survey Egg (Facility 39). As the practice of using less-than-fully-utilized phone lines grows, it will engender a new class or circuit switches, that act as dual circuit and IP switches and enable better speeds over phone lines—for services such as DSL, as well as reduce the number of dropped calls.
  • [1382]
    A premium version of Phone Widge may be white-labeled to cable TV companies. In such an instance, Phone Widge acts as the technology supplier to various cable companies to offer wireless phone service. Phone Widge service may be (original equipment manufacturer) OEM'ed to third parties. In embodiments proprietary technology-on-a-chip enables additional functionality. With Phone Widge users can send voicemails the way they send text messages, to individuals or blocks of recipients. Users can respond to voicemails by including the original caller's voicemail, ala email.
  • [1383]
    Phone Widge is hardware and software technology that is going to revolutionize the communication industry. Current wireless and landline network topologies and technologies were developed a long time ago. Long before the forthcoming smartphone revolution. The smartphone and similar connected devices are becoming the next computing platform. Neither the current wireless or landline networks were designed with such a momentous shift in mind Phone Widge's proprietary technology merges the mobility of wireless networks with the speed and reliability of landline networks (copper+dark fiber). Phone Widge offers an exciting path for existing network players to move from commoditized traffic haulage, to the 21st century model of profiting fr